Purdue Research Foundation has partnered with an international global defense and security company, Saab, to support aviation production and create 300 new jobs.
The Swedish company will invest $37 million to build a workforce in Discovery Park District to produce the U.S Air Force's T-X jet, an advanced pilot training aircraft, it was announced Wednesday morning. Production is expected to be up and running by 2020.
The announcement of Purdue and Saab's partnership was announced this morning in hangar eight at the Purdue Airport.
"This is a moment that a lot of us have been looking forward to and imagining for two, three, four years now," Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said about the partnership with Saab.
Daniels referred to Saab as "a first-rate company" because of its record of producing high-quality products - such as the world's most advanced camouflage system, life training and food surveillance system - used in several U.S military branches.
In West Lafayette, Saab will be constructing important "areo" structures that feature a completely new aircraft design, development and manufacture.
The partnership will result in strides in research and offer new employment opportunities with Purdue graduates and graduate students, said Daniels, while also attracting top-notch workers to the area.
This production will require assembly operators, airplane mechanics, manufacturing engineers, administrators and other workers to operate the new base.
Saab's president and CEO, Håkan Buskhe, said the company's interest in setting up in West Lafayette is because of the visionary leadership by the state of Indiana and Purdue.
The company will also work alongside Purdue for potential development in other areas, such as sensor systems, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.
"My guess is, this will be one of the most important sites of Saab globally," said Buskhe, regarding production and research.
Majority of funding for projects will be provided by Saab.
"There are some performance based tax credits that come out of the IDEC's tool kit," Gov. Eric Holcomb said.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will initially offer Saab up to $3.9 million in conditional tax credits and up to $1.15 million in training tax credits. Based on the company's planned capital investment in Indiana, the IDEC will also offer up to $200,000 in conditional tax credits from the Hoosier Business Investment program.
"It's all performance-based," Holcomb said. "All 300 jobs are contingent on those training tax credits and contingent on those jobs actually coming on line."
Daniels emphasized Purdue's goal to teach, research and engage and said the opportunity to collaborate with a company like Saab is a "pure form of engagement" by exchanging ideas.
"We look forward to years of collective success in generating capital and giving Americans jobs," Buskhe said. "Saab is in West Lafayette to stay, and we look forward to being an integrated part of this ecosystem."