• Feb 10, 2009
The Swedish Airplane Company, or Saab AB, has been building aircraft since 1937. To diversify its business, the company started making cars in the late 1940s. Whether we cringe or not, Saab Automobile (the car division) has always reminded the public that its cars have fighter jet DNA (e.g., "Born from Jets"). Now comes word that the Swedish aeronautics manufacturer is partnering with India's Tata Group to build a variant of the Gripen fighter designed to go head-to-head with the some of the world's top military aircraft for some billion-dollar contracts.

Tata brings quite a bit to the relationship. India's largest business group not only builds a vast amount of vehicles, but it has steel manufacturing divisions, electric companies, and IT businesses. Tata also brings cash to the table. Whether the new bedfellows can get it together and knock such heavy-hitters as the F-16, F-18, and MiG-29 out of the sky has yet to be determined, but it should be an interesting battle.

[Source: Google/AFP]


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  • 49 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Americans have a long way to go with the F22. The russians have the Mig 31 aka Firefox, which is capable of Mach 6, is invisible to radar, and carries weapons controlled by thought. :)-
      • 5 Years Ago
      As long as the TaTaSaab jet is nuclear-capable...LOL!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This has to be connected with the fact that India is about to evaluate a number of multirole fighters for a $20bn deal. It's quite a sum, but any paper plane (say a Tata/Saab J-V) couldn't make it soon enough. The contenders are Boeing F/A18-E/F, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16IN, Mikoyan Gurevitch MiG-35 and Saab JAS-39 Gripen (photo).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, but the F-16 started to be fielded in the 1970s. Even the original Block I fighters were able to defeat everything the world threw at it. The F-16 has been upgraded and upgraded and upgraded, and is far more capable than the Gripen, or anything coming out of Sukhoi or Mikoyan.

      There are some that say the F-22 is too expensive, or isn't an appropriate fighter, or can't be fielded in sufficient numbers, and there are some merits to those arguments. However, the F-22 is extremely versatile, and can do the job of the F-16, F-15, and F-18, and can do those jobs with far fewer aircraft. It has very high stealth, is extremely fast, and can fire its weapons from over a hundred miles away, not to mention the fact that it can tap into the weapons systems of other US assets to utilize their radar systems for over-the-horizon point and shoot.

      The F-35 is going to be even better...nothing from Saab or Tata (Saabatata?) will be able to compete with either of these aircraft. What they're going to produce will likely go to third world countries with delusions of grandeur.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holy pointy tatas, Batman.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Gripen is an awesome looking jet. Whether it's actually a good jet, I have no clue, I just know it looks cool.

        • 5 Years Ago
        F22's from the 27th fighter squadron, out of Langley are on their first operational deployment now in the pacific now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's good to see Tata diversifying and cutting deals at a time when most companies are cutting back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't count out SAAB for pushing the envelope of aircraft design. It was the SAAB J35 Draken that was the worlds first operational MACH 2 fighter. The AVRO Arrow would have been the very first, if it had flown with the worlds first after burning aircraft engine, the Iroquois. The Arrow was unfortunately cancelled by a Prime Minister who bought into Bomarc missiles being the best option put forth by a very scared U.S government. The Arrow had the very first example of fly by wire. The US was very scared that Canada had a plane that could out perform anything flying at the time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am pretty confident that the US government was never in fear of Canada. That is not bravado just more common sense. Any type of conflict with Canada is unfathomable and not a possibility, Canada is practically the 51st state. I could see a civil war in the US before a conflict with Canada.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe they should buy SAAB autos back from GM.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Born from Tatas."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Typical American arrogance. And apparently short memory. Joking till the jets are over Pearl Harbor and Manhattan? You people better realize that it is American dollars at work. Washington lobbyists, CEOs and bankers export jobs to India, get their fat multi-million bonuses/bribes, Americans get buried under the debt for generations, India builds jets. Very funny, eh?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "I'm pretty sure India has Sukhoi SU-37's, or at least orders for them. With 3D thrust vectoring, that thing is probably the most maneuverable fighter out there. (the F-22 does some neat stuff, but the SU-37 does it in smaller radii at faster angular speeds) The Sukhoi's would be air superiority, the Saab's would be bomb trucks."

      The SU-37 was a developmental platform built from the SU-35. There were 2 SU-37s built and one has been converted BACK to SU-35 specs. The other crashed. This was equivilent to the F-15ACTIVE and the F-18HARV. It was a test bed. No one bought any as they werent produced.

      The SU-35 has 12 aircraft deployed as of September last year with only the Russian AirForce. While the jet has significant upgrades to it, the fact remains that it is still just a derivative of the SU-27 which is based on the same design philosophies of the 70s. 3D thrust vectoring, ect ect Cobra this and Kulbuit that, Ive heard it all. It is still an aging platform with some fancy new tricks on it. The Raptor is a purpose built, ground up platform with thrust vectoring built into the designs. We could have easily released F14, 15, 16 and 18s all with thrust vectoring, in fact all have been tested with it. And some believed it to be the best course of action. But a new platform is needed as airframes stress and crack and breakdown, hence the existance of the F22 and the mysterious Russian PAK-FA. The F22 does many things that no other airframe is capable of doing. One of which is the most important aspect of a fighter jet in a dogfight and that is Angle of Attack or AOA. While the SU-35 and Sukhoi has claimed that it can achieve an AOA of 120 degrees, there is no footage of this cabalbility for more than a few seconds. Sukhoi has also not released the specs as to how long its sustained AOA is. This makes me wonder seriously about its survivability if a dogfight is extended beyond 45 seconds. Are all the fancy thrust vectoring and airshow moves there to sell the plane as more than it is? Thats my honest and humble opinion. The Raptor has a sustained AOA of 60 degrees and a theoretical unlimited AOA. Test have been done with the Raptor at a 70 degree AOA and verified to be able to hold it for a period of time. Realistically, AOA of anything more than 60 is not needed and too physically stressful on the human body.The Raptor is also the only that fighter than can fire a missle while in an barrell roll. This is crucial in a dog fight because it gives you an ability that no one else has. While it can not turn as fast or as hard as a SU35, it also can not be picked up on the radar of the Su35. This gives First shot first kill to the Raptor. Its stealth profile is also a huge advatage in that our(F15s) most advanced radar can not find the plane even if its right in front of the cockpit.
      "I can't see the [expletive deleted] thing," said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, exchange F-15 pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron. "It won't let me put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it visually through the canopy. [Flying against the F-22] annoys the hell out of me."

      The Indian Air Force has bought the SU-30MKI which is a derivative of the SU27 and quite a good one as well. In COPA India 2004, they beat the snot out of the USAF's F-16s. However, a further examination of the exercise reveals that the F16 was not allowed to use its BVR(beyond Visual range) capabilities and the SU30 is a dedicated air defense dog fighter while the F16 is a multirole strike fighter. Looking at RedFlag 2008 the SU30 was demolished by a full airwing of F22s, F16s and F15s. War games are all about poltical ramifications and whatnot so they arent really a great indicator of a planes capabilites because many times they will be handicaped in some way. The best thing to look at is the war record of a plane. The F15 is undefeated in armed combat scoring well over 100 wins and never suffering a single loss in combat. That gives it the best record of any fighter in history.

      The F22 needs to be continued and sold to our true allies(read, not the Middle East except Israel. I dont want to see another F-14/Iran debacle again) to help reduce costs and make them more procurable. Keep in mind the F15 was also the most expensive and most technologically advanced plane of tis time as well, hence the F16 which was and is more cost effective. We now have the F22 being billed in the same way. Too much of a good thing. Too much money$$$ too much technology ect ect. Same critics, same old BS lines. Sell it to the Brits, sell it to Israel, sell it to Australia and sell it to Japan. Those countries will be willing to buy(especially Israel and Japan. Australian PM wants it too). It lowers costs and keeps the production line open for future US orders. I find it funny the Pres Obama wants to "create" jobs, and the one place he can "create" jobs is
        • 5 Years Ago
        I really doubt that a war really would break out on such massive scales as to mobilise all or even most of USAF, unless it's aliens attacking.

        Thank God for peace. Amen.
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