Swedish defence major Saab Group, in collaboration with Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL), is set to bag the Defence Ministry’s $2-billion short range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) project.

The joint venture between Saab and KSSL, announced in February, however, is yet to be finalised, but both the companies are already engaged in transfer of technology for the SRSAM programme with its Bamse system, an air defence missile system.

Under this programme, 52 Ashok Leyland 8/8 Super Stallion trucks will be fitted with Saab’s Eagle radar that will be used to track enemy radars, while two more such trucks will be mounted with Saab’s Giraffe radar, which has the capability to target and shoot, according to sources.

The trials were conducted in October 2014. There are plans to set up the manufacturing facility in Satara district of Maharashtra, although the final decision on the location is yet to be finalised by KSSL, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Bharat Forge Ltd.

“We expect the bids to open by this autumn. Then by next spring, there will be an L1 declaration and then in about 18-24 months, we hope to win the L1. The production line will be decided by KSSL. But it may come up in Satara. Right now technology transfer is going on,” Bo Almqvist, who heads Saab’s air defence systems, told BusinessLine .

Almqvist said the company would be able to make the first delivery in 36 months from the time the contract is awarded. “We have a long-term commitment based on Make in India for maintenance and research and development of future generations,” Almqvist said.

Saab will be competing with Israeli Rafael’s Spyder air defence system and Rosoboronexport to supply SRSAM to the Indian Army.

According to sources, the government might float the tender by December-January. However, contracts would be awarded by the middle of 2017.