Bengaluru. The capital of Karnataka would be the backbone for the Swedish armament manufacturer SAAB for the Gripen, a light single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft offered to the Indian Air Force.
“I would like to emphasise that we foresee Bengaluru to be the backbone for the Gripen offering to the IAF because of the industry setup (ecosystem) that they have in Bengaluru. What we have seen so far is that here in India, there are a lot of companies who are competitive, that we can utilise in the fighter programme for India,” SAAB India Technologies Chairman and Managing Director Ola Rignell told the media here.
Saab is in the fray for a contract to supply 114 fighter planes to India under the multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) programme. The IAF in April 2018 issued an initial tender or Request for Information (RFI) for the billion dollar procurement deal.
The company had earlier said it would hold meetings with Indian companies in October to develop ecosystem in the country for manufacturing multi-role fighter aircraft. In the last 10 days, the company had discussions with a dozen firms based in Bengaluru.
Without disclosing the names of the companies, Rignell said these agreements would be similar to the deals announced earlier with Sansera Engineering, Aequs and Dynamatic Technologies.
Commenting on SAAB’s offer to IAF, he said, “The current RFI from the IAF stipulates 114 aircraft. Of these, 18 are supposed to be in a flyaway condition from OEMs and the rest to be built in India. We are 100% committed to build all 96 aircraft in India, from scratch.”