Saab-Adani partnership to make in India deals on Gripen fighter jet aircraft

Saab-Adani partnership to make in India deals on Gripen fighter jet aircraft

NEW DELHI,Sept1:  Sweden’s Saab is tying up with the Adani Group to bid for defence deals in India, with a focus on the Gripen fighter jet aircraft, its chief executive Hakan Buskhe told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.

The partnership will compete with US defence giant Lockheed Martin in a two horse-race to win a potential order from India’s military for single-engine jets that will be produced locally under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make-in-India” initiative.

The Saab-Adani partnership is aimed at producing planes under India’s new “strategic partnership” policy, Ratan Shrivastava, an independent New-Delhi-based consultant and adviser at India’s industry lobby group FICCI has said.

Under the defence partnership policy, a foreign aircraft maker will collaborate with an Indian firm to develop a world-class indigenous aeronautical base that India has struggled to build for decades. Lockheed has already picked India’s Tata Advanced Systems as its local partner to produce its F-16 fighter planes that will compete with Saab’s Gripen aircraft.

The government will issue a formal request to Lockheed and Saab over the next few days to provide information about their plans to design, develop and produce combat jets in India, a government official had told Reuters earlier this week.

The Indian Air Force needs hundreds of aircraft to replace its Soviet-era fleet; PM Modi wants the planes built in India to help boost the domestic industrial base and cut imports.

Adani is a $12 billion group with businesses ranging from energy and logistics to real estate and defence.