SAAB offers 114 Gripen fighters to the Indian Air Force

Swedish aircraft manufacturer responded to India’s request for proposal on Gripen E

Amid a potential order for 100 Tejas fighters by the Indian Air Force (IAF), Saab also wants to close a large contract with New Delhi. The Swedish aircraft maker reported via social media on Tuesday that it had offered 114 Gripen fighters to the IAF.

The offer of aircraft was a response from the Swedish company to India’s request for proposal on the Gripen E, a more modern variant of the fighter that is currently operated by Sweden and Brazil.

Saab said that “with Gripen E, India will get next-generation combat air capability and world-class availability – ready to face any threat, any time, anywhere, from any dispersed location.”

India’s fighter acquisition program is the MRFA (Medium Multirole Fighter Aircraft). The request specifically asking for 114 aircraft is aimed at compensating for the reduction in IAF squadrons ready for action due to the decommissioning of older aircraft.

The MRFA is a reformulation of the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) program launched a decade ago and which was won by the Dassault Rafale.

Variety of fighters

Initially, the acquisition of 126 French fighters was planned, but the contract was revised and the order was reduced to 36 aircraft – all of which have now been delivered.

At the time, the IAF also evaluated proposals involving the MiG-35, Lockheed Martin F-16V, Boeing F/A-18E/F, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen E.

India Air Force ordered 36 Rafales in 2016 (Dassault)

With the recent changes implemented in India, influenced by the government initiatives “Make in India” and “Self-reliant India”, new procedures for acquiring military equipment were adopted in the country.

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One of them is the establishment of assembly facilities in the country made possible by foreign companies in partnership with local industry names, also including technology transfer.

The Indian Air Force today has a diverse fleet of fighters from different parts of the world. In addition to the domestically produced HAL Tejas, the IAF also operates the French Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets, the Anglo-French SEPECAT Jaguar and the Russian Su-30, MiG-21 and MiG-29.


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