Lockheed is bidding for a contract, estimated to cost more than $ 15 billion, to supply 114 fighter jets to the Indian Air Force and to move its F-16 production line from the United States to India is.
The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is emphasizing the Make-in-India program, under which it wants to give jobs to global firms in the defense sector to set up manufacturing centers in India and build a domestic industrial base.
Vivek Lal, vice president of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the company will sell all future F-16 wings worldwide, to be produced in a joint venture in Hyderabad with Tata Advanced Systems of India.
“The first wing prototype is being built right now. Hopefully, we will start supplies by next year, this will be the only facility for future F-16 wing production,” Lall told Reuters.
Lockheed is competing for an Indian Air Force contract with Boeing, which has fielded its F / A-18 Super Hornet, as well as Sweden’s Saab with its Gripen fighter. Rafael, Eurofighter Typhoon and Russian aircraft of France’s Dassault Systems SE are also in the field.
The Air Force needs new fighter jets to replace its old fleet of Russian MiG aircraft. But Indian defense procurement is a long process.
The government’s insistence on local manufacturing and reduced dependence on expensive imports have further delayed decision-making as foreign companies are looking for local partners and suppliers.
Lall said Lockheed was already building an empire of its C-130J transport aircraft from the Hyderabad facility and also cabins for its Sikorsky helicopters. The two joint ventures set up for the production of the ambiance and cabin each consisted of 500 people.
He said we have been doing Make in India for years. The company has stated that if it establishes a local production base for the F-16 it will also provide maintenance, repairs, and spares for fighter jets flying with the Air Force worldwide.
“This is a huge potential business, India will enter the world’s largest fighter jet ecosystem.”
Source: Live Mint