DefExpo 2018: Saab and Boeing Eye to Secure $15 Billion Deal with The Indian Air Force

Boeing Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy:

The DefExpo 2018 is providing the required impetus to the Indian defence manufacturing industry. US based company Boeing is eyeing to secure $15 billion deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide 110 fighter jets. It pitches for Super Hornet F/A 18 to the IAF. Boeing on Thursday signed a deal with public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems to manufacture Super Hornets in India. The deal was signed during the ongoing DefExpo in Chennai under the ‘Make in India’ model launched by the Modi government.

The Boeing said that this partnership would will not be limited only to the production of Super Hornets in India but would also work for the development of future technologies in India, which would transform India’s aerospace and defence programmes. Partyush Kumar, President of Boeing India, “Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and an Indian company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra,” reported The Economics Times. Kumar further added, “Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.”

According to a report of The Times of India, S P Shukla, Group President, Aerospace & Defence, Mahindra Group, said, “We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Boeing and HAL will provide for us to contribute further to ‘Make in India’ for defence.” HAL’s chairman T Suvarna Raju said that the partnership would create an opportunity to strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities, reported The Times of India.

Saab’s Gripen E (Picture Courtesy:

On the other Swedish Company Saab also pitches for Gripen E to secure the deal with the IAF. In an interview to Bloomberg Quint Jan Widerstrom, chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We are glad to see that the process has started.” He further added, “Saab is pitching its latest Gripen-E to India.” The Swedish Company partnered with India’s Adani group for manufacture jets for the IAF under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. Saab was also a part of The IAF’s earlier programme for 10 years to provide Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA), but later it was scrapped the Modi government after coming to power. The Modi government then signed a deal with French Government to acquire 36 MMRCA in fly-away condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while formally inaugurating the DefExpo 2018 in Chennai said, “We plan to ensure that the process for the new 110 aircraft through strategic partnership is shorter, unlike 10 years it took under the previous government.” Saab also offered transfer of technology to India.

The chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We have offered transfer of technology and ‘make in India’ to the government. Our offer is lot more than moving a second-hand production line to India,” Widerstrom further added, “We plan to bring state-of-the-art technology and production line along with capabilities which will eventually lead to thousands of jobs in India.” Saabs involved with the Indian Armed Forces can be traced three decades back.

The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to procure 110 fighter jets last week. Another US company Lockheed Martin, Russian Company Mig and French Company Dassault Aviation will also be eyeing to seal this deal. The companies are required to submit proposals by July 6. The aircrafts will be produced in India by the foreign company in partnership with domestic company under strategic partnership model. The main is to strengthen Indian defence manufacturing sector and to bring advance technology to India.


Published by Sumit Sharma

Journalist and passionate for Indian Defence forces.

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