As the Indian Air Force looks to acquire 114 fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era jets, Sweden has once again pitched its SAAB Gripen jets to New Delhi.
Swedish defense minister Peter Hultqvist on Tuesday reportedly re-pitched to sell SAAB’s Gripen fighter jets to India during an event hosted by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, Mint reported.
This is the second time Sweden has pitched its Gripen jets to India. Earlier, Indian PM Narendra Modi met his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven in a video conference (March 05), under which the two leaders are said to have discussed key matters on various subjects including sale of Gripen jets.
Swedish defense minister Peter Hultqvist said that Stockholm will continue to work with New Delhi to support increased exchanges, research and innovation between the two nations, according to a report by Mint.
“The Make in India concept provides excellent opportunities for cooperation that would serve both our countries’ interests. The ongoing multi-role fighter aircraft procurement where the Gripen fighter concept offered by SAAB is a good example of transfer of technologies and is supported 100% by the Swedish government,” Hultqvist said.
In a bid to bolster its air capabilities and prepare for a two-front war with China and Pakistan, the Indian Air Force has proposed the procurement of 114 additional fighter jets.
Saab Gripen E is also a hot contender for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition besides Rafales, F-18 Super Hornets, Su-35, Eurofighter Typhoons and other jets.
Losing the first MMRCA competition to Rafales jets where it was not even shortlisted in the final stages, SAAB is aggressively pitching its Gripen jets by offering its entire production technology to satisfy the ‘Make in India’ plan.
The Gripen E is a 4+ generation fighter jet that can carry up to seven Meteor missiles and possesses beyond visual range (BVR) weapons to track and kill targets at a range of up to 80 miles. It can attain a speed of Mach 2 with supercruise ability, a range of 1500 kilometers and boasts a maximum takeoff load of 16,500kgs.