Saab meeting industry in Payerne

On 27 May Defence and security company Saab met industrial companies in Payerne in order to present and discuss business opportunities in the Gripen E programme.

Saab recently visited Zurich, Geneva and Lucerne to inform regional manufacturers about the opportunities for Swiss Industrial Participation (SIP) and to find new business partners linked to the potential Swiss acquisition of 22 Gripen E fighters. A total of ten cities will be visited.

In his welcome note, former Air Force commander Christophe Keckeis briefly informed about the tasks of the Swiss Air Force and how Gripen E fulfils their needs.

“The need of the Swiss Air Force to replace the aged Tiger aircraft is not questioned. It is necessary and urgent. At the same time this need offers an opportunity to many Swiss enterprises, especially Small and Medium Sized companies to position themselves for Industrial Participation. ”

With regard to the SIP programme, Jean-Luc Michoud, Vice president of GRPM (Groupe Romand pour le Matériel de Défense et de Sécurité) and director LPS Services SA, said: 

 “My impression is that Saab is very active to present good results already today. The Suisse Romande has a lot of industrial competence. However, quite many SMEs work as subcontractors and it will be important for the larger companies to flow down their contracts to subcontractors in Switzerland.”

Linked to the Swiss fighter acquisition Saab will be obliged to provide Swiss industry with business equal to the value of the Gripen contract. The Gripen programme presents business opportunities for both defence and non-defence industry. In parallel to the industrial tour, Saab specialists are visiting targeted companies directly in order to deepen cooperation or develop new business relationships.

 “We look for long-term, commercially viable business partnerships with a sustainable impact. It is one of the criteria specified by armasuisse. The work has to be carried out systematically and with great detail, which also takes time,” said Henry Johansson, Vice President Gripen Switzerland. „Upon signature of the Gripen contract, Saab has ten years to deliver its offset obligation. “

One of the Swiss companies that are already doing SIP business initiated by Saab is Fischer Connectors of St-Prex. Pierre Maréchal, VP Sales & Marketing informed about the potential of the Gripen programme for his company. Fischer Connectors is a manufacturer of push-pull connectors for both civil and military industries. It has an existing business relation of some 20 years or so with Saab.

“We are a high quality company both in production and services. This is the reason why we enjoy excellent relations with Saab, despite the problems the strong Swiss Franc is causing us. With the Gripen procurement, I expect our business volume to grow further. I can encourage other companies to get in contact with Saab – they are not complicated people,” said Pierre Maréchal.

By the end of 2012, Saab had realized SIP business worth 250 million francs and is committed to deliver SIP of at least 300 million before the Gripen contract is signed. The company also recently announced that it will extend its Swiss Gripen supplier base to develop and produce major components of the Gripen E aircraft – rear fuselage, pylons (weapon stations), tail cone, air brakes and external fuel “drop” tanks. The contract value of this work amounts to 200 million CHF and 500,000 man-hours of work.    

For your information: Saab will attend additional industrial events in Martigny and Hitzkirch (28 May), St. Gallen (29 May), Lugano (3rd June), Bern (17 June) and Basle (18 June).

Read more about the Saab´s Industrial Programme for Switzerland.

For further information:

Saab Switzerland, Communication & Marketing
+41 79 777 40 30, Mike Helmy,

Saab Press Office
+46 734 180 018

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.