Make in India is also in line with the ambition to create an indigenous Indian defence industry of global scale. One of the ways of building domestic capability in defence, in an acceptable time frame, without foregoing cutting edge systems, is to team up with a foreign company which already has cutting-edge technology. Indian industry, with the right partner, has the capacity to absorb such technologies.
Make in India and Saab
Saab sees a perfect match between the skilled Indian work force and Swedish know-how in the defence industry. Saab could build Next Generation products and solutions in India, by Indians, for India and even for export. It would be transfer of technology in the true sense, including training, transfer of know-how, capability development, and development of the supply chain for cutting edge technology systems.
Saab has already progressed quite a bit towards realising this vision. One important step taken in this direction was the setting up of the Saab India Technology Centre, a Research and Development Centre, in partnership with Tech Mahindra in Hyderabad. Engineers at the Centre are working on multiple Saab programs to develop critical technologies for the next generation of aircraft, missile & radar systems, to support Saab’s global market.
Saab and Bharat Forge Limited have signed an agreement to work together on the Indian Army Air Defence programs VSHORAD and SRSAM. Also, Saab and Ashok Leyland have entered into an agreement to work together for the BAMSE SRSAM program, for which Ashok Leyland will deliver high mobility vehicles.
Saab has a partnership with Indianeye Security Pvt. Ltd. for supplying Agile Tactical Engagement Simulation (ATES) equipment to Indian Armed Forces, Paramilitary, Special Forces and Police.
Saab is also an equity investor in Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Ltd. Saab and Pipavav are jointly developing the next generation of Combat Management Systems in India. Further, Saab, in collaboration with Grintex, has been selected by the Airports Authority of India to deploy Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control Systems (A-SMGCS) at five airports in India. The Saab A-SMGCS will enhance situational awareness and runway safety at these growing airports.
In 2012, Saab, in collaboration with Elcome Integrated Systems, implemented the National Automatic Identification System on the Indian coast line. The NAIS provides coverage to entire Indian Coast, whereby 74 lighthouses are now fitted with the Saab systems. This system is helping safeguard India’s coastline through monitoring and identification of maritime traffic.
Saab is also working with many suppliers of machinery and composite parts in India, including Aequs (formerly QUEST Global Manufacturing), Tata Advanced Materials Limited, and CIM Tools. These companies play a very valuable role in helping Saab develop, industrialize and manufacture complex airframe assemblies for Airbus and Boeing. Saab and Aequs have also established a joint venture, Aerostructures Assemblies India, an AS9100C-certified company located in Belgaum, Karnataka. AAI specializes in build-to-print assemblies for commercial and defence aircraft.
These alliances will go a long way in helping Saab fulfil its vision – of becoming a true and genuine partner to India’s defence industry.