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Saab to set up R&D centre in India

BANGALORE (PTI): Swedish defence company Saab AB has announced to set up a research and development centre in India and indicated that it is close to finalising a joint- venture with HAL in the field of airborne electronic warfare systems.

Saab's president Hakan Buskhe said the R&D expected to become operational soon is projected to house up to 300 Indian engineers over the next five years working in the area of design.

The company is yet to finalise the location for the Indian R&D centre and Buskhe said it could come up in multiple places.

"The aim is to transfer already identified concrete programmes (to Indian R&D centre) over time," he told a press conference here, ahead of the Aero India 2001 air show here.

Company officials also said that Saab is set to announce a joint venture with the Bangalore-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The idea is to "put production and further development in a vehicle (joint venture with HAL) in India where we will produce and deliver to the global market," said company's Director, Head of Region Asia Pacific, Group Marketing & Business Development, Jan Widerstrom.

"Next generation of our electronic warfare systems will be produced and developed in India," he said.

Saab, one of the contenders for the USD 10 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft contract in India, has made a strong pitch for its Gripen IN fighter plane.

Sweden's State Defence Secretary Hakan Jevrell said the Swedish government fully backed the company's offer in this regard with full technology transfer.

Jevrell said he would like to stress the importance of "zero corruption" (in defence deals).

Asked to elaborate on this statement, Jevrell noted: "Zero corruption is on the table, I believe. Let's be frank.

There is a history of the Bofors artillery gun (deal several years ago) surrounded by rumours regarding corruption".

Officials noted that Bofors was a Swedish firm then, but is no longer now.

In addition to MMRCA contract, Saab said its pursuing other programmes in India, including anti-ship missile, battle field management system and military and civil surveillance systems.


Saab  HAL  Aero India  

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