NEW DELHI — Saab of Sweden will model its Indian aerospace business line after the company's venture into Brazil, with plans to create dedicated manufacturing and maintenance facilities for fighter aircraft in India, according to Jan Widerström, chairman of Saab India.
Addressing a news conference here, Widerström said the company had aligned supply of the Gripen E fighter aircraft under the "Make in India" policy. In addition, Saab will set up a joint venture in India for the fighter program with a domestic private firm.
Saab also is in dialogue with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to offer electronic-warfare technologies, avionics, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and weapon-integration solutions for the Indian-made Light Combat Aircraft Tejas 1A, Widerström added.
The Swedish company has crafted a comprehensive plan to comply with the "Make in India" initiative, which will include transfer of state-of-the-art technology; setting up manufacturing capacity; creation of a local supplier base; and employment of a well-trained Indian workforce in engineering and manufacturing.
"Our concept of technology transfer is real, as we are willing to give India comprehensive system and software control. In short, Saab is not only looking at setting up a base here, but also helping in the development of aerospace capability for many years to come," Widerström said.
Saab's plan also includes a program for training people to develop skills and knowledge that is critical to creating something of an aerospace eco-system.
"We would train engineers in Sweden, as we're currently doing with Brazilian engineers for the Brazilian Gripen program. We will train people in India and in Sweden to be able to design, develop, manufacture and maintain in India", Mats Palmberg, vice president for industrial partnerships at Saab Aeronautics said.
"We will not work by simply providing kits, but by providing knowledge so that we can build capability both from the bottom of the supply chain and from the top of the supply chain," said Palmberg. "There will be a lot of training in Sweden and in India. In that way we can reach an indigenous capability to maintain, to sustain, to further develop Gripen in India. We will not simply move an assembly line; we will build development capability."
Currently Saab employs around 300 skilled workers in India.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.