Swedish defence aviation company Saab and India’s Adani Group are set to hold a B2B meet to firm up proposals for a Make in India Gripen in anticipation of an Indian Air Force (IAF) contest for fighter aircraft.
The Gripen India Partnership Summit 2017, to be held in New Delhi from October 31 to November 02, is intended to allow its existing suppliers to meet a pool of potential Indian suppliers and encourage them to discover opportunities to partner and participate in a potential Gripen production line in India.
Mats Palmberg, VP Industrial Partnerships & Head of Gripen for India, told StratPost, “The aim of the whole event is to create the arena that will bring the existing international partners for Gripen to the table for discussions with the potential Indian suppliers to shape the eco-system and prepare for an outstanding make in India solution for Gripen in India.”
Saab had recently announced they will work with India’s Adani group to pursue the opportunity to supply the IAF with the Gripen fighter.
Saab’s current partners in India include, Aequs (formerly QuEST Global), BEL, Indianeye Security, Kalyani Group and Ashok Leyland.
Saab has invited its main international partners and suppliers for Gripen and, along with their existing partners and the Adani Group, selected Indian suppliers that they believe could add value to the offering for India.
According to a Saab response to StratPost, “This is done in order to start shaping an eco-system for Gripen in India in preparation for the single engine fighter selection process. Among the international partners there are several European as well as American companies such as GE, Leonardo, Honeywell and UTC, some already with an established footprint in India, some still to establish a footprint.”
While the IAF Request for Information (RFI) is still awaited, the number of aircraft required by the IAF has been speculated to be around 100 at this time. However, with the existing shortfall of nine fighter squadrons in addition to the anticipated retirement of 11 additional squadrons by 2025, and keeping in mind the orders for two squadrons of Rafales and six squadrons of Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), it can be inferred that the IAF requirement could go up to between 150 to 200 fighter aircraft.
Depending on the number of aircraft, such a Make in India exercise will range in value from USD 15 billion to USD 25 billion over a decade and a half.
It is with this opportunity in mind that Saab is now trying to encourage the formation of an Indian network of suppliers to the Gripen, tied up with their existing suppliers, to have the necessary associations and agreements in place when the time comes to submit their bid.