* To add 300 engineers over 5 years-CEO
* Is in race for $11-bln Indian fighter jet order
(Adds details, background)
BANGALORE, Feb 8 Swedish defence and aerospace
group Saab AB (SAABb.ST) plans to open a research and
development centre in India "soon," as it looks to boost its
presence in one of the fastest growing aircraft markets, its
chief executive said on Tuesday.
The Swedish firm plans to add 300 engineers over five
years, Hakan Buskhe told a media briefing.
High spending on arms and a rapid increase in civil
transport in Asia's third-largest economy has lured global
players like Saab, Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus EAD.PA to India.
Last October, Airbus' chief executive Tom Enders said the
company plans to more than double its team at its India
engineering centre to 400 by 2013. [ID:nSGE6900DH].
India is one of the world's biggest arms importers, and the
government says it plans to spend up to $50 billion to upgrade
its Soviet-supplied military over the next five years to
counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.
Saab's JAS-39 Gripen is competing with Boeing's (BA.N) F/A-18
Super Hornet, Dassault's (AVMD.PA) Rafale, Lockheed Martin
Corp's (LMT.N) F-16 and Russia's MiG-35 to win a contract from
India for 126 fighter jets, valued at around $11 billion.
The Eurofighter Typhoon jet produced by a consortium of
European firms including EADS EAD.PA, BAE Systems (BAES.L)
and Finmeccanica SIFI.MI is also in the running for the
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee; Editing by Jui Chakravorty)