Gripen offers India technology for multi-role fighter jets

January 28th, 2009 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Heating up the race for the contract to supply 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force, Gripen, a Swedish firm, has proposed to India transfer of technology to become “an independent manufacturer” of its own fighter jets.Looking forward to the trials for the medium multi-role combat aircraft, the Swedish manufacturer of Gripen, SAAB International has favoured “extensive transfer of technology” well in excess of 60 percent requirement to boost India’s indigenous capabilities in this regard.

“Gripen would like to provide strategic leverage, operational dominance and define future capability of India by becoming an independent manufacturer. We would help India in designing and manufacturing their own aircraft,” country head of SAAB International Jan Widerstrom told IANS.

“We have offered transfer of technology levels far exceeding the RFP (request for proposal) requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF). An early transfer of technology would be ensured to maximize indigenous capabilities,” Widerstrom said.

The deal is estimated to cost $10 billion. The contract will include licensed manufacture for 108 fighters by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and offset clauses for supplying sub-systems and components to the winning bidder by Indian aerospace firms in the public and private sectors. The selected manufacturer will have to supply 18 aircraft in flyaway condition in batches.

The technical evaluation of the bidders is complete and will soon be followed by trials.

“Three aircraft will be brought to India, including two-seaters and one seater. The trials will be conducted for dry, dry and humid, and humid conditions,” Widerstrom added.

Apart from the Swedish Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Lockheed Martin F-16, the French Rafale and the Russian MiG-35 are also in the fray.

The Swedish company claims to have an edge over the competitors due to its “low cycle cost” and “range and payload capabilities” beyond IAF’s operational requirements.

“We are recognized as very economical solution. Gripen has a very low life cycle cost,” Widerstrom said.

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