Race For Fighter Aircraft Turns Curious As Adani Joins Hands With Swedish Saab

Team DefenceAviationPost

New Delhi: Strategic partnership for manufacturing single engine fighter aircraft for the IAF today took a new turn with India’s one of the most politically influential industrial houses Adani Group formally announced to partner with Sweden’s Saab for making these jets under ‘Make-in-India’ initiative, the flagship programme of the Narendra Modi Government.

The race has become tighter as country’s one of the oldest groups, TATA is already in the fray for supplying F-16 aircraft in collaboration with American Lockheed Martin.

The Defence Ministry announced its plans for opening up strategic partnership for four major prgorammes, including the single engine fighters to make up the shortage of over 100 jets after the government decided to acquire 36 Rafale from French through government-to-government route.

Chief of the Adani Group Gautam Adani shared the platform today with Saab top officials to announce his willingness to forge collaboration within aerospace and defence in India, aligned with the Government of India’s Make in India initiative.

The intended collaboration would encompass design, development and production of Gripen for India and other high-tech products of national importance for India and also the creation of joint ventures in India in line with and in support of the Make In India policy.

Saab, in partnership with Adani Group, will discuss possibilities to offer solutions to bring required design and manufacturing capabilities in defence and aerospace to India.

A collaboration between Saab and Adani will combine the technical and product excellence of Saab, along with the industrial engineering, system integration and mega project execution capabilities of Adani with the intention to manufacture defence systems locally in India.

With India’s focus on creating future-proof and home-grown capabilities across all industries, Saab and Adani will explore how to cooperate to develop a wider aerospace and defence ecosystem in India. A critical part of a joint roadmap would be to encourage the development of small and medium sized enterprises along with a robust national supply chain.

“We are committed to the India-Sweden relationship and in bringing the latest technology and skills to India,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO and President of Saab AB. “The Adani Group is one of India’s largest global conglomerates. Adani Group has a long history of entrepreneurship, spanning through decades of dynamic growth.”

“Our plans in India are to create a new defence eco-system that would involve many partners, vendors and suppliers. To achieve this, we need a strong Indian partner who can help create the framework for the infrastructure and eco-system to come into place,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO and President of Saab.

“In continuation of our vision of nation building, we are keen to play an instrumental role in helping transform India into a destination for world class high-tech defence manufacturing,” said Gautam Adani.

“We are proud of our enduring relationship with Saab and look forward to partnering in major projects such as Gripen. Our various collaborations in aerospace and defence sectors will help establish new production lines in India, generate employment and build sustainable skills,” he said.

The intended collaboration would include Gripen for India. Gripen would be offered to the Indian Government as the solution for India’s single-engine fighter aircraft programme. The collaboration would also include projects, programs and technologies of national importance to India. The parties’ plan to develop the relationship into a structure of joint ventures in India for execution of the programs, including the single engine fighter program, in order to support the Make in India policy and exhibit the parties long term commitment to be jointly successful.

Gripen would be pitched against Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 fighters as a modern multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology, including advanced data links and sensors plus a unique extensive electronic warfare suite.

The presence of Adani is being seen as game changer for the fighter programme which is the most ambitious defence projected ever taken up in independent India.

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