Chennai: Super Hornet to secure 15-billion dollar deal
CHENNAI: Vying to secure India’s order of 110 fighter jets worth 15-billion dollars, Sweden’s SAAB Technologies has assured to offer the necessary technologies to develop next-generation fighter jets to India. One of the world's largest defence manufacturers, SAAB, who already has footprints in India, also said that it would innovate, design, develop, produce and test in India. “We would not only focus on transferring technologies to India but also will establish capabilities to indigenously develop the next generation fighter jets,”Mats Palmberg, VP - Industrial Partnership and Gripen India Campaign Leader, said on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018 in Chennai.
It may be noted that the major defence manufacturers across the world have shifted their focuses on the country as the Government of India had released a request for information (RFI) to procure 110 fighter jets at the estimated cost of more than 15 billion dollars, a few days ago. The development had come after the government scrapped the deal with Dassault Aviation of France for 126 Rafale jets, which was delayed for 10 years. “We do not want to spend 10 years in discussions without tangible outcomes,”Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the DefExpo on Thursday.
According to the RFI, India would purchase a maximum of 15 per cent of the total 110 fighters in flyaway condition and manufacture the rest 85 percent under the Make in India program. The RFI also had sought information from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on the specifics of the aircraft for both single engine and twin-engine fighter jets.
Meanwhile, the USA-based giants, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are also vying for the hefty order by pitching their F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-16 fighter jets respectively. While Boeing had entered into to a tripartite agreement with HAL and Mahindra to make Super Hornets in India, Lockheed Martin had decided to shift their entire production line to India out of USA, partnering with TATA. Meanwhile, the SAAB had roped in Adani to claim its stake.Explaining the capabilities of Gripen-E jets, Palmberg said that the aircraft could be deployed in forward areas with the small runway or advanced landing ground (ALG).