It is viewed as a major win for Indiana’s increasing effort to attract global investment in the aviation and aerospace sectors. But Saab’s plans to invest $37 million and add 300 jobs at a fighter jet plant in the Purdue Discovery Park District may be just the beginning of a far-reaching partnership. "It’s not just going to be the fuselage down the road and the partnership with Boeing,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “It’ll be other things, in cybertechnology and things like autonomous technology and 5G. Their president said, ‘We are going to be here for the next 100 years.’”
Schellinger was a guest on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Schellinger says early in the discussions with the Sweden-based company, executives began to see locating the plant in Indiana, and specifically at Purdue University, as a "very unique situation" with the potential for corporate collaborations as well as proximity to one of the world’s leading research institutions.
Shortly after the May 8 announcement, Purdue President Mitch Daniels told Inside INdiana Business that while the Saab investment is a manufacturing play at the outset, the table is set for far more opportunities in the future.
Daniels believes the Saab deal is an example of regional and state economies that are beginning to diversify beyond just manufacturing. "This is going to be a major research collaboration in a variety of high tech areas over the years," said the former Indiana governor, who adds it is part of a larger state economic development strategy. "That was always the next step, beyond becoming a great place to do business, let’s have higher value and more diverse businesses coming here."