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(WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.) — Saab has cut the ribbon on a new aerospace plant in West

Lafayette’s Purdue Discovery Park.

Saab will build airframes in West Lafayette for 350 T-7A Red Hawk training jets for the Air Force.

Saab expects to start production in two or three years, and increase its workforce from the current

60 or so to 300 by 2027.

Saab broke ground on the $37 million facility two years ago, and boasts that despite the

pandemic, it finished construction on time and on budget. Chairman Marcus Wallenberg notes

when the company first began building aircraft in the 1930s, American engineers traveled to its

headquarters in Sweden to assist. He says the Purdue plant, Saab’s seventh in the U.S., brings

the company full circle.

While the Red Hawk contract is the plant’s first project, CEO Micael Johansson says the

company plans to use the plant and its neighbors at Purdue to branch out into artificial

intelligence, sensor technology, fuel efficiency, self-piloting planes, and other advanced

manufacturing: He says Saab typically reinvests a fifth of its revenue in research and development,

and says having research partners just down the road — and a pipeline of potential new employees

— was a critical factor in the decision to locate in West Lafayette.

About 60% of the current employees have Purdue ties. Purdue president Mitch Daniels

predicts the plant will be the flagship of what he calls “a high-tech boomtown” in the research

park. He says as Saab’s work with Purdue pays dividends, other manufacturers will take notice.