Sunday, March 27, 2016

'Make in India' pitch to sell Swedish fighter for air force

The uncertainty over India's negotiations with France for the Rafale fighter aircraft and the air force's desperation to stall the depletion of its combat fleet have prompted global aviation majors to dovetail their planes into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign.

After US companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Swedish firm Saab has now said that it is willing to transfer technology and set up a new company with an Indian partner to make its latest fighter aircraft, the Gripen E, in India. The Gripen E is being built block-by-block and is slated to roll out of its production assembly in May this year.

"Sweden is looking for a market. India is looking for technology. The Gripen E can be the frontline multi-role fighter made in India," said Saab's technical director and product manager for the aircraft, Gideon Sines, to a group of Indian journalists visiting the manufacturing facilities in Sweden. The visit was sponsored by Saab.

Versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon (made by Lockheed Martin), the F/A-E/F Super Hornet (made by Boeing) and the Gripen C/D (made by Saab) did not make it through the trials conducted by the Indian Air Force for its tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) since 2007. The Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale were "downselected". Rafale beat the Typhoon by quoting a lower price.
26/03/16 Sujan Dutta/Telegraph
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