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Swedish aerospace giant Saab is actively promoting its Gripen-E fighter jet for India’s upcoming Medium Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) program, offering a “Make in India” deal with complete technology transfer. However, any concrete developments on the program will have to wait until after the national elections scheduled for late spring.

Saab hopes that the Indian government will soon issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the 114-jet MRFA program, a crucial initiative to modernize the Indian Air Force (IAF). The company is confident that the Gripen-E, with its advanced capabilities and potential for local production, aligns well with India’s strategic objectives.

“Gripen-E is a perfect fit for India’s defense needs,” says a Saab spokesperson. “It offers the latest technology, competitive pricing, and a comprehensive Make in India package.”

Saab’s “Make in India” proposal reportedly involves establishing a local production line and transferring critical technologies to Indian partners. This approach aligns with the Indian government’s emphasis on boosting domestic defense manufacturing and reducing dependence on foreign imports.

However, the timing of the MRFA program coincides with India’s upcoming national elections, which typically see a slowdown in major defense decisions. As a result, any concrete progress on the MRFA tender, including the issuance of the RFP or selection of a winner, is likely to be delayed until after the new government takes office.

Several other international players, including Dassault Aviation (Rafale), Boeing (F-15EX), and Lockheed Martin (F-21), are also expected to vie for the MRFA program. The final decision will depend on a range of factors, including technical capabilities, pricing, and the effectiveness of each proposed “Make in India” plan.