Tata To Make F-16s In India In Partnership With Lockheed Martin

Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and American defence supplier Lockheed Martin Corp. have signed an agreement to manufacture F-16 fighter jets in India, ahead of the government’s plan to buy more fighter jets. India is likely to need 200 more fighter planes and has sought proposals for single-engine craft. The deal comes days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US on 26th June. India and the US have increased defence cooperation over the past decade. US President Donald Trump, on his part, has opposed any move to move manufacturing facilities to foreign shores.

“F-16 production in India supports thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the US, creates new manufacturing jobs in India, and positions Indian industry at the centre of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world,” said a joint statement on Monday by Tata and Lockheed at the Paris Air Show, according to Reuters.

 India will also have the chance to export the F-16, which is flown by air forces around the world, the joint statement said. Some 3,200 of these planes are being flown by 26 countries. Tata is already building airframe components for the C-130 military transport aircraft. “This agreement builds on the already established joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Tata and underscores the relationship and commitment between the two companies,” said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons Ltd.

“This unprecedented F-16 production partnership, between the world’s largest defence contractor and India’s premier industrial house, provides India the opportunity to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft, the newest and most advanced version of the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter,” the firms said in the statement.

 “Lockheed Martin is honoured to partner with Indian defence and aerospace leader Tata Advanced Systems Limited on the F-16 programme,” said Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Our partnership significantly strengthens the F-16 ‘Make in India’ offer, creates and maintains numerous new job opportunities in India and the US, and brings the world’s most combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft to India.”


 (Courtesy: livemint.com)


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