In what could be a game changer for Indian armed forces, Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab has offered to ‘Make in India’ the fifth generation of its foremost fighter aircraft the Gripen, also called Griffin.
Gung Ho Vids
As of now India has ordered just 36 Rafale fighter jets, not enough for 45 squadrons that IAF must maintain to have a leverage against both Pakistan and China. It currently has only 35; each squadron has around 18-20 fighters or a mix of aircrafts.
The HAL Tejas has been in the making for the last 30 years, and is still incomplete.
Saab’s offer includes help in development of India’s aerospace capability for the next 100 years. They have also offered to assist HAL in speeding up the manufacture of Tejas – something that the public sector aircraft maker desperately needs.
Types of bombs carried by a 4th Gen Gripen. aerospaceweb
“We have almost an identical system back in Sweden when it comes to defence exports. It is decided by the government and we too can’t export to specific countries which is almost the same as that of India,” Widerstrom said.
The Rafale deal between India and France entered rough weather largely due to Dassault’s reservations over technology transfer.
A Dassault Rafale of the French Air Force. Airheadsfly
A Rafale’s maintenance cost is as high as that of a commercial airliner without an earning model.
Even the French Air Force is not too keen about inducting more Rafales given the fact that the jet did not perform to expectations in Libya and Mali.
Such were the complications with Rafale that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had to cancel the multi-billion tender for 126 MMRCA and settle for only 36. By comparison, a Gripen of a comparable make is equally powerful and could have fulfilled India’s needs.
Ever since its induction in 1997, the Gripen has found takers in as many as 12 countries across Europe, South America and Asia.
France is the only country that operates Rafale. Egypt and Qatar have placed orders, while Canada has agreed to purchase Rafales because Dassualt has agreed for full transfer of technology.
The single-engined Gripen is lighter and more agile than the Rafale, but with a lower combat radius. That could be removed in the 5th generation version. Also, India’s policy of defence is different from that of United States – its fighters never go deep inside someone else’s territory and blow up things just for the sake of it.