The Swedish defence company Saab, which manufactures the Gripen E aircraft, announced on social media (X platform), that it is ready to sell 114 Gripen E aircraft in response to an upcoming request for proposals from the Indian Air Force. The statement said India’s purchase of the Gripen E would provide the country with advanced air combat capability and extraordinary operational readiness.
In April 2018, India announced the start of tendering for 114 aircraft under the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme. Boeing with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III, Lockheed Martin with F-21 (F-16V), Airbus with Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab with JAS 39E/F Gripen, Dassault Aviation with Rafale B/C (F3R), and RSK MiG with MiG-35 submitted proposals.
Meanwhile, India bought 36 French Dassault Rafale B/C fighters with an option to purchase another 18 for EUR 7.8 billion. In mid-July, India announced that it would buy another 26 Rafales from France for its air force.
At the Aero India Show in February this year, Saab presented the Gripen E and offered the Indian Air Force both single and two-seat versions of the Gripen. Saab then first showcased a two-seater variant of the aircraft for India.
Saab’s offer is attractive to India because the Swedish company proposes to create an independent industrial base capable of designing, developing, manufacturing, modernizing, and maintaining the Gripen system, thus going beyond building components with Indian companies.