Swedish defence manufacturer Saab Group has said that it is ready to start making its very-short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) system in India, provided the customer, the Government of India, issue its supply order. The company is in touch with around 110 companies in India for local supplies of the product and working on testing with many of them, said senior officials from the company.
The procurement process for the VSHORAD missile system has been pending for almost ten years now and the company utilised the time to source new suppliers, fine-tune its off-set arrangements, and scout new offices locations in India
"We are ready with our product now and it is only a matter of when the customer is ready to procure it," said Bo Almqvist, Director Strategic Business Project at Saab Dynamics. The company will be showcasing the technology in the DefExpo 2018, organised from April 11, in Chennai.
India is looking for a VSHORAD system to replace its ageing system from Russia and would be sourcing more than 5000 missiles and 1200 launcher. Trials began in May 2012 and it is expected a final decision on the supplier will be made by the Indian government during 2018.
"We want to ensure that we satisfy the customer in terms maintenance, reliability, the offset with Make in India requirements, technology transfer, and, of course, technical performance," he added.
The company is focusing on Make In India, as it offers a larger market than what its home country, Sweden offers. Over a period of time, it would make its missiles in India.
The company has been in contact with around 110 companies in India for the production of printed circuit boards, mechanical details, harnesses, and also explosives and propellants.
This is needed for the VSHORAD project but also for other parts of Saab, as it is looking for good, qualified suppliers. It is also working towards satisfying the 30-percent offset requirements for the project through a range of avenues including investments and companies.
The product has advantages compared to its competition, with flexibility on jamming at any point of operation, and can be used for event protection where the missile can be aborted if the operator finds the target is not an enemy after launching. Gorgen Johansson, senior vice president and Head of Business Area Dynamics, said that a key advantage of Saab's offering is that the company is eager to develop the next generation of the RBS 70 NG system with India.
"India has a lot of engineering skills," says Almqvist. "We would like India to participate in the next generation of the RBS 70 NG project (The VSHORAD missile it has developed), collaborating on the design itself. We are not afraid of that and the next generation would be more or less and Indian/Swedish system," he added.
Saab has been working with companies such as Ashok Leyland and Adani Group on various defence related operations.