The Indian Air Force’s Request for Information (RFI) for its Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme was responded by Saab in July last year. Since then, there have been frequent interactions with the Indian Air Force (IAF). In a recent interview with Business World, Ola Rignell, Chairman & Managing Director, Saab, talks all about the Gripen E offer for IAF’s MRFA programme.
Saab’s Gripen offer is in accordance with the IAF’s requirement of 114 MRFA where the first 18 aircraft would be developed and assembled in Sweden and the rest 96 would be made in India. The offer has been molded to meet all the requirements of the Indian Air Force and the defense and security needs of the country in general.
Through the Gripen India programme, India will be able to conduct their own Gripen development projects, enabling a complete transfer of technology which is also in line with the country’s Make in India programme.
“We first want to build an aeronautical ecosystem in India together with our partner and the Indian Air Force,” says Ola. “We will give India the capability to actually produce the next generation of aircraft by themselves,” he adds.
Moving on the avionics of the aircraft, Ola highlights the features of the Gripen that can be customized according to the user’s preference. “Within the Wide Screen Display (WAD), we have integrated a new software where we have the ability to upgrade all tactical software rapidly,” Ola says. The Gripen offer also features the state-of-the-art meteor missile and the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar that will be integrated into the Gripen E.
“When it comes to capabilities, performance and the overall cost including the life-cycle cost, Gripen is fit for the IAF,” says Ola highlighting the fact that the life-cycle cost is even more important than the initial procurement cost.
Gripen is currently operational in Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Thailand, South Africa, and will soon be operational in Brazil as well.
Read the full interview here