Swedish defence major SAAB on Tuesday announced plans to manufacture its Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon system in India. The manufacturing would be done by a new fully SAAB-owned subsidiary, Saab FFV India Pvt Ltd.

“This is the first time we will be setting up a manufacturing facility for this outside Sweden,” said Gorgen Johansson, senior vice-president, SAAB, in an interaction with the media. “We will transfer the technology to India. The first product will roll out in 2024.”

However, they are yet to receive the government approval for the new venture, Mr. Johansson said, while declining to give details on the volume of investment and the production capacities planned. The location of the new facility is yet to be decided and they will have competition for it, he added.

The Indian Army has already ordered the M4 version, he said in response to a question. Mr. Johansson said the company would first meet requirements of the Indian armed forces, and later look at exporting the sub systems to Sweden from where they would go into the global supply chain.

The new facility would be partnering with Indian sub-suppliers which will fulfil the ‘Make in India’ requirements and will also generate jobs, he stated.

The Army has been using the iconic Carl-Gustaf since 1976 and currently operates the Mk2 and Mk3 versions. The Carl Gustaf has ammunition with varying ranges with a maximum of 1,500 m. The anti-tank ammunition has a range of 500 m.

The manufacturing set-up is planned to include the M4 weapon system, key technologies such as carbon fibre winding for M3 and M4, brand new Fire Control Device launched this year and the M3 barrel assembly, the company said.

Stating that the trigger for the decision was that they needed more production capacities, Mr. Johansson said over time all components of the Mk4 would be manufactured in India.

Responding to questions on meeting Indian export licence requirements for export to third countries, Mr. Johansson said they would comply with the laws, while adding that for exports to third countries, Sweden would be responsible for the end-user certificate.

The older versions of the Carl Gustaf and older ammunition are manufactured in India by the Ordnance Factory Board and now by the newly carved out Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU). Company officials said the DPSUs would continue to manufacture them.

The company could also use the ordnance factory supply chain for the new manufacturing set-up, Mr. Johansson said, adding that it was being discussed.