NEW DELHI — Sweden-based Saab and India’s Samtel Display Systems (SDS), which specializes in products for avionics and military applications, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop, manufacture and market the RIGS Head-Up Displays (HUDs) in India.
RIGS is an advanced lightweight HUD designed by Saab to provide helicopters with a cost-effective display solution.
This is the second MOU signed between Saab and SDS. The first identifies SDS as an offset partner for Saab for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract, in which Saab’s Gripen fighter is one of the contenders.
SDS is a part of the Samtel Group, India’s largest integrated manufacturer of a wide range of displays for television, avionics, industrial, medical and professional applications,machinery and engineering services.
SDS is already in the advanced stages of developing helmets through its joint venture with Thales, which could later be extended to HUDs.
India has ordered 16 Mig-29Ks that will be fitted by the Thales HUDs. The repair and overhaul will be done through the Samtel Thales Avionics joint venture in which Samtel holds a 74 percent stake.
The joint venture — the first in the country for cockpit display systems — was initially to focus on CRTs (cathode ray tubes) for the spectrum of Airbus civil and military aircraft,as well as helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) and multifunctional
displays (MFDs) for the Indian air force.
The Samtel Thales Avionics joint venture will work toward the local development, production, sale and maintenance of Helmet Mounted Sight & Display (HMSD) and other avionics systems destined for the Indian market. Samtel Thales Avionics will become the design authority for the products and equipment developed, and manage them through their entire life cycle.
Following the new MOU, SDS says it will now also be involved in the development of RIGS HUD together with Saab.
“Offsets are required for defense projects and will be a driver for business,” says Puneet Kaura, executive director of SDS. “However, we feel for the first few prototypes for transfer of technology, OEMs should be responsible. Interestingly,
SDS is in [a good position], as it has signed MOUs with all manufacturers bidding for the MMRCA project.”
SDS and Saab will jointly market RIGS to the Indian commercial
and military market. SDS says it will be involved in the development of RIGS electronics and software and will also develop and manufacture parts of the RIGS HUD, initially, for the Indian market.
“Our current goal is to help Saab serve the Indian market in the Head-Up Displays segment,” Kaura says. “But we are hopeful that through our focus on quality along with cost-effectiveness, this collaboration will extend to other international
markets as well over the next few years.”
- Neelam Mathews