Tata Vs. Adani Is India Inc’s Big New Jet Dogfight

A contest to build at least 200 foreign single engine fighter jets at a greenfield facility in India has assumed its full contours. Over two months after LockheedMartin declared that it would compete to build the F-16 in India in partnership with the Tata Group, rival Saab of Sweden today finally declared who it had forged a similar agreement with: India’s Adani Group, a diversified conglomerate with interests in the energy sector, agribusiness and logistics. The contest, part of India’s vaunted Make In India campaign and under the Defence Ministry’s new Strategic Partnership paradigm, will see the winning partnership set up a full industrial base to build the chosen aircraft — either the F-16 Block 70 or Gripen E (see Livefist’s dogfight here).

Livefist had the first full details of Saab’s Gripen E industrial offer to India as part of the single engine contest, one that will now be pitched in partnership with the Adani Group. The partnership is now the fourth major fighter aircraft partnership in India in recent years after LockheedMartin-Tata, Boeing-Tata and the Dassault-Reliance tie-ups. The matrix of partnerships between large Indian and foreign firms means they’re partners in some segments and rivals in others. Saab, for instance, tied up last year with Tata’s Strategic Electronics Division (SED) to build self protection systems and land-based platforms.

Today’s announcement sets up what many will see as a intriguing corporate war. One that will be fought between a giant with a proven hand in the military business facing off against a lesser known (but no less influential) group that’s taking its first tentative steps into a space that widely recognised as the most difficult to do in India. The Tata Group, steered by former chairman and patriarch Ratan Tata, an aviator and aerospace enthusiast himself, has plenty of aero-industrial experience, with group firms supplying major parts to every big airframer you can name, apart from being a formidable maker of equipment nearly across the board for the armed forces, notably including specialty vehicles, sensors and drones.

The Adani Group on the other hand has made no secret of its interest in entering the defence manufacturing space since 2014. The company’s expansive industrial real estate properties on India’s western coast are positioned as a leg-up in terms of logistics applications for large scale manufacture, a key element in its pitch for foreign partnerships. While today’s partnership with Saab consolidates the group’s known interest in aircraft manufacture, the company has made known since 2015 that it intends to prove capacity for helicopter and unmanned systems manufacture in country.


10 thoughts on “Tata Vs. Adani Is India Inc’s Big New Jet Dogfight”

  1. Though sab is obviously provide india a greater access to TOT as it has offered previously in MMRCA deal but the problem is Grippen itself made of of several US techs that will not be a part of Grippen’s TOT package since developer is a US’s defense giants like, GE for F414, Raython for APG/ANPG, and other electronics…

    So even be a better piece, greater offer and value of money the scale will be slightly in favor of lockheed – Tata since we can call lockheed to ask their suppliers to provide makeup and TOT to India which can not be asked in grippen’s case.

    I further did not understand that If F16, and Grippen ruled out from MMRCA Competetion in early stage and then the 2nd stage non qualifiers are Mig 35 and F 18 and last stage were Typhoon and rafale… hence the priorities and merits have already been defined… that is Group -1..Rafale and Typhoon.. ( let them go due to price) Group-2… F 18 and Mig 35 ( left due to inferior to Typhoo and Rafs Group -3.. F16 and Grippen ( Not at all came closer to needed tech)

    Hence why there should not be the choice of F 18 or Mig 35 if Rafale left due to economic and TOT problems… How can IAF so much degraded to group 3 slandered….

  2. I feel, F16 should be choice, it is of different class than LCA. F16 engine should be used for AMCA(not uprated F414) and PAKFA should be avoided. AMCA (or heavy not medium ), should be produced by Tatas using many advance components of F16.

  3. What differentiates GRIPEN from Tejas are the subsystems like radar, laser pods, Electonic counter measure,
    Instead of collaborating for a fighter aircraft , the Indian govt should scout for tecnology partners for the above mentioned subsystem
    Also GRIPEN will be supplied with its own suite of armaments including BVR
    ASTRAA BVR will not be integrated with GRIPEN
    What will India gain apart from killing indigenous efforts like LCA Tejas,ATRAA, DRDO’s AESA radar, electronic counter measure program

  4. Should India select a corporate house because of its proximity with the Indian PM or a corporate house which has experience of defence manufacturing especially aircraft body parts manufacturing and assembling of transport aircraft for the INDIAN airforce

  5. Will the defense ministry declare the selection criteria (both technical and commercial) for both the OEM and the Indian partner?
    If no, why?

  6. I think it’s totally waste of time and taxpayer money If we really want something so it would be F35 LightiningII like fighter under true transfer of technology either go with TejasII which is worth because at war like situation only home technology can stay with you if you hard work for f16 which will even not started it would take 2022 at that time whole world fly 5th Gen fighter and many started Israel japan …etc please save the every penny of India don’t go with 4th Gen fighter jet …

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