Swedish weapons systems producing giant SAAB, has fielded Gripen for the Indian Air Force tender for 114 fighter jets, is trying to find clarity on some provisions of the strategic partnership route of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), Micael Johansson, president and CEO of SAAB said “India is very important, and we see vast potential here” .

“We are awaiting the Expression of Interest (EOI) from the Indian Air Force, it’s been delayed a number of times. It is expected within the second quarter of next year,” said Mr. Johansson who is on his first trip to the Republic of India since taking on the highest post at company in October. “We are looking for how it is explained to us,” he aforementioned of the strategic partnership policy. The comments are vital because it may be a concern shared by many foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“We have said for long that we are willing to do a technology transfer, not solely the producing capability but additionally creating an indigenous capability to upgrade and work with the system.” Mr. Johansson aforementioned.

Under the strategic partnership policy, foreign OEMs have to be compelled to tie up with Indian private firms to make the products regionally.

Elaborating on the gray areas, Mr. Johansson wants to understand whether they may work with several companies to optimize partnership because certain companies were good at certain things. “Then how do we make sure that we do something that will create a sovereign capability in India?” remarking that they failed to apprehend what were the requirements for establishing partnerships for giant projects, he said: “That is why it’s, therefore, necessary to ascertain what the EOL says.”

Recently, SAAB pulled out of the Indian Navy’s tender for 6 advanced standard submarines under Project-75I, citing difficult provisions and lack of clarity on the strategic partnership route, under that the tender was being processed.

SAAB includes a major presence in self-defence systems, electronic warfare suites and camouflage materials. It is operating closely with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Mr. Johansson mentioned that the company was putting in place manufacturing capabilities alongside HAL for the maintenance of those systems. For example, SAAB provides self-defence systems for the indigenous Advanced light helicopter. “The light Combat helicopter is very important to us,” he said.

In civil aviation, the company is providing air traffic management solutions, together with digital towers for smaller airports. Mr. Johansson said SAAB was additionally pitching its Aerobahn surface management system for civilian airports and airlines to chop down on price and fuel. This had been demonstrated at the John F. Kennedy airport on certain routes that have shown fuel savings of up to half-hour, SAAB officials said.

Source: The Hindu

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