Interview : Mr Görgen Johansson, President, Saab Dynamics
With a number of initiatives and programs running with the Indian Defence Services through Saab Technologies India, Saab is one of the leading technology providers in this domain. We were fortunate to engage with Mr Görgen Johansson, President, Saab Dynamics, during his recent visit and have a discussion on the the current issues. Excerpts from oyr QA session:
Defstrat. 84 mm, Carl Gustaf, Anti-Tank Rocket is one of the most reliable and long lasting weapon systems to be used in the Indian Army. What lessons has Saab derived from this experience about doing business in India?
Görgen: We have been in India with Carl Gustaf since the mid 70-ties and have created an excellent cooperation with OFB and transferred technology to India. A true win-win story.
Defstrat: What are the other major military programs that Saab is currently involved in India?
Görgen: Saab is involved in a number of programs, from RFI stages to production. The major programs often mentioned in media are Gripen fighter and the VSHORAD three service air defense programs.
Defstrat: As one of the leading companies designing missiles and radars in the world, how do you compare your weapon systems with your global competitors?
Görgen: Saab develops and manufactures complete system, from platforms to effectors. We have a number of international cooperation where work is shared with partners. It is difficult to compare systems and performance since there are many external parameters and requirements to consider, however there are two areas, besides performance, Saab is at the leading edge and that is Saab’s complete knowhow from sensor to shooter and recognized low life cycle cost.
Defstrat: What are the distinguishing features of RBS 70 NG?
Görgen: RBS 70 NG is the latest version of Saab’s MANPAD system. It is a command to line of sight system and has the latest technology integrated in the sighting system. The system has a range of 9 km, which no other MANPAD system can show. Furthermore the system has many features to help the operator which make the system chosen by many armed forces. The system is also constantly used for event protection. With the complete knowledge, sensor to shooter, Saab has been able to optimize the reaction time and kill performance.
Defstrat: Can you please tell us Saab’s ToT and Offsets plan?
Görgen: Saab is always taking ToT and offset requirement seriously and have planned for both production and assembly locally for India. For both Gripen and VSHORAD we continuously look for suppliers around India and for VSHORAD pre orders has been ongoing for four years in order to qualify Indian suppliers.
Defstrat: One problem area that we have faced in India is after sales maintenance support and spares. What assurances and advantages can Saab offer in this domain?
Görgen: It is always Saab’s aim to have the maintenance in the country and therefore the transfer of technology is important for Saab in order to have spares manufactured locally. Saab always makes sure that spares will be available through the life time of the delivered system.
Defstrat: As a defence technocrat, what is your impression of India’s future needs and modernisation plans related to defence preparedness?
Görgen: It is not Saab’s intention to tell India’s armed forces their need. We will be there for India and serve with products in the area of India’s need. We appreciate the idea of Make In India, as Sweden also discussed these ideas in the past, and will support India in their path to become more self-sustaining than it has been.