February 19, 2019 / 11:56 AM / 10 months ago

Saab proposes to make 96 Gripen jets in India to win Air Force deal

FILE PHOTO: The E version of the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen multirole fighter was rolled out at the SAAB in Linkoping, Sweden, May 18, 2016. Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency via Reuters /File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Swedish defense firm Saab AB, which is seeking to sell its Gripen fighter jets to the Indian Air Force, said on Tuesday it could offer to make most of them in a production facility likely to be set up in one of the southern cities.

Saab is expected to face competition from rivals such as Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin Corp and Dassault Aviation SA to supply about 110 fighter jets to the Air Force, in what could be a deal worth more than $15 billion.

As part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ push, Saab is considering locally manufacturing 96 of the 114 jets it wants to sell to the country, the Stockholm-based company officials told reporters on the sidelines of a conference ahead of “Aero India 2019” in Bengaluru.

Saab has tied up with resources conglomerate Adani Group to sell the single-engine planes to fulfill the condition of bidders having an Indian partner to be considered for the order.

Any manufacturing facility in the country could also become an export hub, Saab’s Indian unit Chairman and Managing Director Ola Rignell told Reuters at the conference.

Southern Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad would be the “natural choice” for any plant.

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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