Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab Group will soon tie up with the Adani Group to manufacture single-engine fighter jets in India, Reuters reported. The partnership will likely be announced on Friday.

The partnership will pose direct competition to US defence giant Lockheed Martin and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault who have tied up with Tata and Reliance respectively.

Reuters quoted Ratan Shrivastava of FICCI as saying that the Saab-Adani partnership is aimed at producing planes under India's new "strategic partnership".

After Modi's government came in to power in 2014, the government 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.

When the Tata-Lockheed partnership was announced, sources told The Wire that if the F-16 jet was chosen, Lockheed would push for a joint venture model where the Indian partner would be a "majority owner".

Quoting a government official, the agency reported that the Government of India (GOI) will issue a formal request to Lockheed and Saab shortly to provide information about their plans to design, develop and produce combat jets in India.

Adani is a $12-billion Indian conglomerate with businesses ranging from energy and logistics to real estate and defence. Not many years ago, In March 2015, the group set up its defence unit, Adani Aero Defence Systems and Technologies.

Fighter jet
A Swedish Saab Gripen F fighter jet taxis during a media presentation at the Swiss Army Airbase in Emmen, central Switzerland.Reuters

In March 2016, following Modi's trip to Israel, Adni Group's defence unit partnered with Israeli Elbit-ISTAR in the field of unmanned aircraft systems. At the time, the company stated that Adani Aero Defence Systems had interests in "design, technology development, technical collaboration, system integration services for aerospace and defence equipment and systems".

At present, the Indian Air Force needs hundreds of cutting-edge combat aircraft to replace its Soviet era fleet. The government wants the planes built in India to help boost the domestic industrial base and reduce imports, the agency reported.

Saab President and Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe will host a media event in New Delhi on Friday, the report said.