Indian conglomerate Adani Group's defence and aerospace division has joined hands with Swedish defence giant Saab to produce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters for the Indian Army.

The joint venture was focusing on developing "foundational capabilities" to produce a wide-range of products in the aerospace sector for the domestic as well as export markets, Asish Rajvanshi, head of the Adani Group's defence and aerospace division told PTI.

Earlier in September, both the companies had announced collaboration in defence manufacturing, which involves billions of dollars of investment.

Commenting on the collaboration, Jan Widerstrom, chairman and managing director of Saab Group's India operation, said that the joint venture is not just eyeing lucrative fighter jet deal but also looking forward to tapping other areas of the defence sector.

The joint venture aims in developing a world-class ecosystem for the aerospace sector in India. Both Rajvanshi and Widerstrom said the joint venture was aiming at building unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), military helicopters and various other aerospace components and equipment for the Indian armed force, the news agency reported.

"We have started the journey of building foundational capabilities...We will pursue the UAV programme, the helicopter programme," Rajvanshi told PTI.

The joint venture is also eyeing the billion-dollar deal for supplying single-engine fighter jets to the Indian Air Force. The Indian government is set to start the process soon for procuring a fleet of single-engine fighters for the IAF.

Army helicopter
ndian army soldiers bring down the body of a colleague from a helicopter after an avalanche, before a wreath-laying ceremony in Srinagar February 25, 2012.Reuters

After Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the government has opened the defence sector for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through initiatives like 'Make in India' and "strategic partnership policy".

Under the country's new defence partnership policy, a foreign aircraft maker will need to collaborate with an Indian firm to develop a cutting-edge indigenous aeronautical base, the Reuters report suggests.

In September 2016, the government had signed a 7.87 billion Euro (around Rs 59,000 crore) deal with the French government for the purchase of 36 Rafale twin-engine fighter jets. The supply of Rafale jets is scheduled to start from September 2019.