Sunday, April 11, 2021

India, Sweden Reiterate Defense Commitment As Saab Looks To Sell Its Gripen Jets To IAF

At the back of Swedish aerospace firm, SAAB eyeing the role of manufacturing its advanced Gripen fighter jets in India, the prime ministers of the two nations have noted that defense is an important sphere for their long-standing collaboration.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven in a video conference on Friday (March 05), under which the two leaders are said to have discussed key matters on various subjects.

The Stockholm-headquartered Saab has been looking at the Indian market for its Gripen fighter jets for a long time and has made a strong pitch on multiple occasions in the recent past.

The production of the fighters is completely aligned with the Modi’s government’s Make in India’ policy and “is ready to build products and solutions here in India, by Indians, for India, and for export”.

A Swedish Air Force JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft arrives in support of the Partnership for Peace Exercise Cooperative Key 2003 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base (AB), Bulgaria (BGR) - U.S. National Archives

Gripen fighter jet

Following Modi’s online bilateral summit with Loften, the Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup spoke on the Saab fighter jet tender and the Swedish defense firm’s interest in manufacturing the jet for New Delhi.

       “Both prime ministers noted that defense is an important area of the long-standing collaboration between India and Sweden. Also, we are aware of Swedish interest in Gripen aircraft being manufacturing in India and so this was reiterated,” Swarup said.

While India has already procured 36 Dassault Rafales from France, it wants to acquire 114 additional multi-role fighter jets for the IAF.

In its offer for the tender, Saab had proposed to develop and assemble the first 18 Gripen fighters in Sweden, with the remaining 96 to be produced in India.

According to Saab, its Gripen offer to India is “well beyond just setting up assembly lines in the country”.

“This will be achieved mainly through technology and capability transfer which Saab has offered to other countries as well in the past,” the company has said on its website.

The 4+ generation JAS-39 “Gripen” is a light single-engine multirole combat aircraft that can carry up to seven Meteor missiles and possesses beyond visual range (BVR) weapons.

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