Sweden’s Saab and India’s Kalyani Group announced plans today to set up a joint venture for the ‘main part of production and delivery of these air defence systems to the Indian customer’.
A statement issued by Saab said, “The production in India will comprise of subsystems and systems for SRSAM and VSHORAD with the aim to transfer production as well as development knowledge to India.
The statement quoted Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics as saying, “I am glad to announce our contribution to Make in India through our agreement with KSSL (Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd) and the Kalyani Group to establish a joint venture company in India for the Air Defence Programs. The JV is already under preparation within both companies, and will be ready to launch soon.”
It also quoted Amit Kalyani, Executive Director at Kalyani Group as saying, “The joint venture company will combine Saab’s knowledge and experience as a developer and supplier of high-technology radar and missile systems, with the engineering excellence and manufacturing capabilities of the Kalyani Group. The joint venture will create a global supplier in the area of Ground Based Air Defense Systems based in India.”
Interestingly, the statement added, “To secure production quality, orders of missile parts have already been issued to KSSL and production-readiness reviews are ongoing. Saab and KSSL are already planning for the technology transfer for different packages within the programs.”
Saab has been in competition with MBDA and Russia’s Rosoboronexport to supply Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) systems to the Indian armed forces in a tri-service tender worth around USD 7 billion with its RBS 70 VSHORAD.
Saab is also competing with Israel’s Rafael and Russia’s Rosoboronexport to supply Short Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (SRSAM) to the Indian armed forces, with its Bamse system.
Separately, the Government of India instructed its Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to explore plans to develop a long-pending SRSAM project for the Indian Navy with MBDA last year – an evolution of an earlier partnership proposal on a tri-service SRSAM project called Maitri, which was estimated to be worth USD 5 billion.
Both tenders are said to be close to fruition with decisions expected in a few months, according to sources involved in the process.
MBDA has offered its Mistral system for the VSHORAD tender, while the Russians have offered the IGLA-S system, a variant of a system already in operation in the Indian Army.
The Israelis have offered a combination of the Derby and Python 5 missile systems for the SRSAM tender.
Separate from this tender, there have been recent discussions between the Indian and Russian governments about the acquisition of S-400 air defense system.