TCS to design next-generation Gripen fighter for Saab

February 9th, 2009 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 9 (IANS) Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will design and develop the next-generation fighter jet Gripen for the Swedish aerospace major Saab, a senior official of the IT bellwether said here Monday.

Saab, whose strike fighter Gripen is in race for the Indian Air Force (IAF) order to induct 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) in its fleet, has set up an aeronautical design and development centre with TCS in Bangalore for the multi-million, multi-year contract.

“As part of the contract, we will transfer technology and competencies in the aerospace sector to the TCS centre, which will play a key role in the development of the next-generation Gripen and other products,” Saab vice-president Kjell Moller told reporters here.

Besides providing engineering services and solutions, the centre will explore market opportunities in structures, systems and avionics. About 100 TCS engineers will work at the centre in the first year of operations.

“The contract will continue irrespective of us getting the IAF order, which envisages technology transfer and production license to state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for manufacturing about 100 of the 126 aircraft,” Moller told said.

TCS vice-president for engineering and industrial services Regu Ayyaswamy said the centre would also target the global and Indian aerospace markets for similar contracts to leverage its technology resources and exceptional talent pool.

“The centre will function as part of TCS and not as a joint venture with equity participation either by Saab or us. We will, however, invest in setting up advanced simulator from Saab, in developing aerospace structures and simulating software for avionics,” Ayyaswamy said.

If Saab wins the IAF order for its Gripen, the TCS centre will benefit from the defence offsets clause that mandates the manufacturer to reinvest 30 percent of the contract in the country for outsourcing components and sub-systems.

The centre will also enable Saab to get a foothold in India to grab opportunities emerging in the aerospace and defence sector.

“The partnership is not limited to Gripen, but is aimed towards building joint capability to leverage collective strengths the world over,” Saab chief executive Ake Svensson said in a statement.

TCS chief executive and managing director S. Ramadorai said the tie-up had a strong blend of Saab’s technology solutions and the IT firm’s global engineering model to address the emerging opportunities in aerospace and defence sector.

Saab officials declined to specify the timeframe for the development of the next-generation Gripen and its spin-offs to TCS subsequently.

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