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SAAB offers Gripen at half of Rafale cost, with full tech transfer, local production to India

Vanguard One

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In an interview to ThePrint, SAAB India CMD Ola Rignell highlights efficiency of Gripen, its offer to India, & the issues around its sales to Pakistan.

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A Saab AB Gripen E smart fighter aircraft on display during the Aero India air show at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru in February, 2019 | Karen Dias | Bloomberg


New Delhi: As India looks to acquire 114 new medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) to shore up its depleting strength, Swedish defence major SAAB has pitched for a complete Transfer of Technology (TOT) and local production of its Gripen fighter jet at “half” the cost of French alternative Rafale.

SAAB India’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Ola Rignell made the cost claims in an interview to ThePrint, but added that he wouldn’t be surprised if India went in for additional 36 Rafale fighters in the coming years, circumventing the ongoing process to acquire new jets in larger numbers.

“India bought 36 Rafale fighter jets from France off the shelf. SAAB and Brazil also signed a contract in 2015 for the sale and local manufacturing of 36 Gripen. The cost was half of what the value of the Indian deal was,” said Rignell, referring to Brazil’s $4.68 billion deal with SAAB to manufacture the Gripen locally.

“We are setting up an entire aviation ecosystem in Brazil. And the experience and knowledge that Brazil is gaining from this manufacturing is being used by them to design their indigenous fighter aircraft,” the SAAB India CMD said.

In 2012, EADS’s Eurofighter and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale had emerged as the winner of the 2007 MMRCA bid, with the latter being the lowest bidder. But the contract negotiations got stuck over prices. Three years later, the Modi government cancelled the protracted talks and decided to buy 36 Rafale fighters in fly-away condition in a €7.87 billion deal.

Now, France is offering another 36 Rafale fighter jets in a government-to-government deal. But these numbers will not suffice in view of the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s MMRCA requirements.

During the interview last week, Rignell spoke about what the company is offering to India, his expectations, and the issue surrounding its sales to Pakistan.

‘Gripen cheaper than Rafale’
Speaking to ThePrint, Ola Rignell highlighted the efficiency of SAAB’s single-engine multirole fighter aircraft vis-à-vis the Rafale, which is being called a game changer for the IAF in the region due to its weapons package.

Gripen has the same weapons package as Rafale including the Meteor air-to-air missile, said Rignell.

“All NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) missiles are integrated with the Gripen. The only one which is missing is SCALP because it is a French missile. But if India wants, we can integrate the SCALP also though Gripen already has a substitute,” said Rignell.

He pointed out that European missile manufacturer MBDA, which makes both Meteor and SCALP, actually found Gripen as the most mature jet to test their missiles on.

“MBDA ‘test beded’ the Meteor on a Gripen. They found the Gripen to be the most mature. Eighty per cent of Meteor firing tests took place from a Gripen,” he said.

Rignell added that Gripen will always be cheaper in comparison to Rafale in life cycle costs as well because of its single-engine build.

‘Would not be surprised’
SAAB’s India chief said the defence major is offering the best deal to the country, but he won’t be surprised if India opted to buy another 36 Rafale jet from France.

“I would not be surprised,” said Ola Rignell. But he noted that the additional 36 jets will not fulfill the IAF’s requirement.

“The original 36 Rafale was bought when the IAF needed 126 MMRCA. Now there is an RFI (Request for Information) for 114 aircraft. Additional 36 Rafale would still not fulfill what the IAF actually not just wants but needs,” he said.

India and France have already spoken about the latter’s proposal for 36 additional Rafale jets, but New Delhi hasn’t disclosed any information about such a move.

No fresh deal with Pakistan
While Saab is offering the Gripen fighters to India, it is also providing the early warning aircraft system to Pakistan — an issue that has upset the IAF.

Pakistan used the SAAB-manufactured early warning aircraft system to coordinate its attack on an Indian military installation in Jammu and Kashmir a day after the Balakot strike earlier in February.

During his visit to Sweden in June this year, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had expressed his displeasure with the defence major for supplying Pakistan with early warning systems and also offering Gripen fighters to India.

New Delhi is of the view that it will be difficult to do business with a country that also arms the enemy.

In a bid to pacify the IAF, Ola Rignell persisted that SAAB is not selling any new products to Pakistan.

He also pointed out that every contender has dealt with Pakistan, and other assets were also used in the post-Balakot action.

Pakistan had used French fighters Mirage as well American F-16s.

However, Rignell remained non-committal on future sales to Pakistan, saying the Swedish government decides on such matters and not the company.

“As far as I know, we are not selling any new products to that country (Pakistan). There is an old order and we are fulfilling our contract obligation,” Rignell said.

The Pakistan Air Force had ordered three new SAAB 2000 early warning aircraft in 2017 to supplement the ones that were destroyed in a terror attack on Minhas air base five years before that.

Rignell added that he was part of the meeting in Sweden when Dhanoa raised the issue and this is exactly what he had told him as well.

“We are trying to sell the latest AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) — Golden Eye — to India. We have sold them to UAE. (But) India is already working on its indigenous systems,” he said.

India operates the IL76 ‘Phalcon’ AWACS as well as the Embraer ‘Netra’ early warning aircraft.

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Huffal

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TLDR - Indian air force crying about Pakistan using swedish aewacs, just like with the f16.

Sweden is ultimately becoming France, in the sense that, sell gripens to india, but aewacs to Pakistan. Just like France (mirage 2k to india, crotales to Pakistan).

Sweden being sly and saying we are not dealing with Pakistan, but in all honesty we most likely will hehe
 

Imran Khan

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so indian air chief go cry baby to sweden . heck so for indians paksitan have no right to protect themselves ? what a stupdid nation . every country have right to purchase weapons for safeguard themselves . india is such a looser man .
 

Pandora

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TLDR - Indian air force crying about Pakistan using swedish aewacs, just like with the f16.

Sweden is ultimately becoming France, in the sense that, sell gripens to india, but aewacs to Pakistan. Just like France (mirage 2k to india, crotales to Pakistan).

Sweden being sly and saying we are not dealing with Pakistan, but in all honesty we most likely will hehe

Putting up conditions like we will buy from you so dont sell it to them is itself ridiculous. We have already seen that when Pakistan was denied military tech from France and US we got it from Sweden Italy turkey and china. Even if sweden denies us military tech we have plenty of other options. In world where Military tech is no longer monopolised there will always be other options.
 

zhxy

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Transfer the whole technology? The problem is how much technology Saab has. Finally, India still has to buy components from many other countries, if they want to complete Saab's aircraft


JAS-39 1.jpg
 

Imran Khan

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Putting up conditions like we will buy from you so dont sell it to them is itself ridiculous. We have already seen that when Pakistan was denied military tech from France and US we got it from Sweden Italy turkey and china. Even if sweden denies us military tech we have plenty of other options. In world where Military tech is no longer monopolised there will always be other options.
indians can go cry as much as they want

pakistan purchased weapons from every corner of world

in 2020 -21 paksitan purchased from

USA
Russia
china
turkey
Sweden
Germany
France
Italy
south Africa
UK
netherland
Romania
Poland
Austria
Switzerland
Spain
Ukraine
japan


can india go beg to all of them ? india will keep crying and countries will keep doing business .
 

Pandora

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indians can go cry as much as they want

pakistan purchased weapons from every corner of world

in 2020 -21 paksitan purchased from

USA
Russia
china
turkey
Sweden
Germany
France
Italy
south Africa
UK
netherland
Romania
Poland
Austria
Switzerland
Spain
Ukraine
japan


can india go beg to all of them ? india will keep crying and countries will keep doing business .

Why would they let go of their profits for sake of Indians? You are exactly right can Indians buy F16 Eurofighter Rafale Su 35 Grippen at the same time. Indians begging others to save their own arse is nothing new.
 

Imran Khan

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Why would they let go of their profits for sake of Indians? You are exactly right can Indians buy F16 Eurofighter Rafale Su 35 Grippen at the same time. Indians begging others to save their own arse is nothing new.
my point is logic based .

pakistan is recognized member of world community and world bodies like UNO
india recognize pakistan too
pakistan is free country and we have every right to make build upgrade our forces as per international laws .

what is aching indias ARSE here ???????? india want us to be unarmed nation so they can come bomb us anytime they want ?????? do they have any brain ?
 

lightoftruth

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SAAB killed their chances when they supplied early warning systems to Pakistan.

Even they know they are out. They just got themselves out of multi billion dollar contracts.

We will most likely go with Rafale F4 variant.
 

waz

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During his visit to Sweden in June this year, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had expressed his displeasure with the defence major for supplying Pakistan with early warning systems and also offering Gripen fighters to India.


What a bunch of whiny cry babies these lot are......






New Delhi is of the view that it will be difficult to do business with a country that also arms the enemy.

In a bid to pacify the IAF, Ola Rignell persisted that SAAB is not selling any new products to Pakistan
.


Too late for that Saab the French have it all.
 

Leviza

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SAAB killed their chances when they supplied early warning systems to Pakistan.

Even they know they are out. They just got themselves out of multi billion dollar contracts.

We will most likely go with Rafale F4 variant.
Lol
Then care to explain why BS dhona went all the way to Sweden and discussed this so called multi billion dollar contract ?

discussed and cried like a baby in Sweden about Saab used equipment and IAF got red butt
 

Pandora

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my point is logic based .

pakistan is recognized member of world community and world bodies like UNO
india recognize pakistan too
pakistan is free country and we have every right to make build upgrade our forces as per international laws.

what is aching indias ARSE here ???????? india want us to be unarmed nation so they can come bomb us anytime they want ?????? do they have any brain ?

You are trying to be logical with Indians that is your first mistake 😂. 90% of Indians dont even know the meaning of logic rest just pretend they never heard of the word.
 

xyxmt

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Why is every White country is out to screw France, first US/Britain screwed France of their Sub deal with Australia and now Sweden is screwing France with their fighters. France is like Iran of Europe?
 

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