Swedish defence firm Saab is looking forward to a meeting with Indian companies for collaboration to jointly manufacture Gripen multiple role fighter aircraft in India. Saab is in the fray to procure the tender for the supply of more than 100 multi-role fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force after the IAF issued an initial tender for the procurement of advanced combat fighter jets in April 2018.
Saab responded to the enquiry raised by the Indian Air Force in July 2018 with the proposal to manufacture Gripen fighters. The planned meeting between Saab and Indian companies will be a follow-up, business to business meeting.
According to officials of Saab, the Swedish firm has been holding incessant consultations and discussions with international partners, suppliers and Indian firms for this Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme.
What Gripen offers to the IAF?
Gripen is a light single-engine multi-role aircraft developed by Saab and has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design. JAS 39 Gripen was designed and developed to replace Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen. The aircraft has a top speed of Mach 2 with fly by wire flight controls.
Hungary, South Africa and Thailand are the major operators of the Gripen fighter jets besides the Swedish Air Force. Even the United Kingdom operates the Gripen jets for pilot training.
As for the Indian Air Force, it will soon receive the first batch of Dassault’s Rafale jets and the procurement of indigenous LCA Tejas aircraft has also received a nod from the union cabinet.