Saab will pick the location of a US facility to host its production activities in support of the Boeing-led T-X jet trainer programme by mid-year, according to the Swedish company's chief executive.
"In the first half of this year we will decide on where we will allocate our production in the USA," Buskhe said during an annual results presentation on 15 February.
Saab was awarded an initial $117 million contract in October 2018 to cover its involvement in the T-X programme's engineering, manufacturing and development phase until 2022. It will be responsible for producing the jet's rear fuselage under a partnership agreement with prime contractor Boeing.
"It's good for Saab and [its] Aeronautics [unit] to have that capacity in the USA," Buskhe says of the future facility, noting that it will help to bring the company "closer to the US customer", as it eyes further business opportunities.
While Boeing and Saab are still determining their joint sales strategy for the T-X, Buskhe says he has already visited "a handful of countries" to discuss the product. "We can already see huge interest for the trainer system around the world," he notes.
"First of all, we focus on the US, to deliver there, but we are creating a capability to take more orders," Buskhe says.
The US Air Force expects to buy an initial 351 of the new type to replace its Northrop T-38 trainers, following a $9.2 billion selection decision made last September. However, Boeing has forecast a potential future market opportunity to produce 2,600 examples to meet additional US requirements and international demand. "It's a good number," Buskhe agrees.