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Saab brings manufacturing operation to Indiana and links with Purdue for defense tech

By David Schwartz
Published: May 14th, 2019

You may know Saab for its cars, but the company is also a big player in defense and security, which will be the focus of its just-announced plan to locate a new U.S. manufacturing operation in Indiana.

The facility, to be located at Discovery Park District Aerospace on the west side of  the Purdue University campus, will support production of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation T-X jet trainer and create up to 300 new jobs, with hiring starting in 2020.

The expansion is a major part of the company’s strategy to grow its U.S. industrial and technology base. Saab also will collaborate with Purdue University to expand its U.S.-based R&D efforts in areas such as sensor systems, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems.

“Indiana has long been a national leader in manufacturing, and today’s announcement demonstrates how the Hoosier state continues playing a key role in propelling the industry forward by attracting investment from around the globe,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said. “Saab’s decision to fuel its United States growth in West Lafayette is a testament to the state’s pro-growth business climate, strong aviation and defense sectors, and commitment to fostering innovation by collaborating with our renowned universities and businesses to solve 21st century challenges.”

The Stockholm-based company will invest $37 million in the manufacturing facility. Saab will produce major aero structures for the Boeing T-X, which features an all-new aircraft designed, developed, and manufactured by Boeing and Saab.

Said Saab President and CEO Håkan Buskhe: “After careful consideration, we have chosen West Lafayette, thanks to the visionary leadership of both the state of Indiana and the world-leading Purdue University. Today’s announcement is a part of our growth strategy in the United States, and deepens our relationship with the U.S. customer. We see great possibilities here for this facility and our partnerships.”

Saab expects to begin hiring for assembly operators and airplane mechanics as well as for logistics, manufacturing engineering, and administration and management roles next year. . The project is expected to create up to 300 new jobs.

Discovery Park District is part of a $1 billion long-term project to transform the west side of the university campus, creating a preeminent environment for intellectual discourse and high-tech commercial enterprise. The district is being developed by Purdue Research Foundation in partnership with Browning Investments LLC. The Saab project is the sixth major project announced in the past two years for Discovery Park District.

“Purdue’s strong history in aircraft research and development makes Saab’s choice a natural fit,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “But the even tighter fit is with our Discovery Park District concept. Saab’s investment will bring more cutting-edge research partnerships for our faculty, more high value employment and internship opportunities for our graduates, and more jobs and economic vitality for our neighbors.”

Subject to board approval, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation will offer Saab up to $3.9 million in conditional tax credits and up to $1.15 million in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The IEDC also will offer up to $200,000 in conditional tax credits from the Hoosier Business Investment (HBI) tax credit program based on the company’s planned capital investment in Indiana. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is not eligible to receive incentives until jobs are created and qualified capital investment is made.

Source: Purdue Research Foundation News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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