Lockheed Martin ready to manufacture F-16 jets in India

If US and India reach an agreement by 2017, Lockheed Martin could complete its first made in India jet by 2019-2020

News Desk February 19, 2016

United States jet maker Lockheed Martin announced on Thursday it is ready to manufacture F-16 fighter jets in India and that it supports the ongoing talks with India to set up the first manufacturing facility.

The project is set to be the largest one under the 'Make in India' initiative, Times of India reported.

US envoy summoned: India outraged at sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan

"We are ready to manufacture F-16 in India and support the Make in India initiative," Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin India Private Limited Phil Shaw informed reporters at the Singapore Airshow 2016.

Though Shaw did not give a time-frame for when the plant will become operational, he stated that the US is keen on having the F-16 aircraft made in India, as soon as possible.

The American company supplied India with six C130J Super Hercules in 2011 and is set to deliver another six helicopters in 2017. Lockheed Martin currently manufactures one jet a month from its plant based in the US and has several contracts and joint ventures in India for which it has hired over 1,000 employees.

US updates jet-engine technology transfer policy with India

According to analysts, Lockheed Martin's "wish to manufacture F-16 is based on the strong demand from the Indian armed forces and would want to lower the cost of the planes for exports by using the low-cost capability in India."

A source familiar with the development said the making of F-16 will depend on whether the Indian government decides to make contractual commitment to purchase the jets for its armed forces.  "Washington, in return, would ensure technology transfer to the Indian engineering sector and a huge boost to Indian exports," the source added.

While the American manufacturer remains adamant on the fact that India is the most suitable option in the company's search for low-cost and highly qualified engineering workforce, it awaits an approval from New Delhi and Washington.

F-16 sale to Pakistan should not be of concern to India: Pentagon

The source further added that if India sets aside its concern with US supplying eight F-16 jets to Pakistan, and the two governments manage to reach an agreement by next year, Lockheed Martin could complete its first made in India jet by 2019-2020.

New Delhi expressed disappointment last week over the Pentagon’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, Indian news outlets reported. The United States government announced it had approved the sale a day earlier.

India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey the country’s ‘displeasure’ over the possible sale. Their meeting at the external affairs ministry lasted 45 minutes, according to various Indian news sites, including The HinduTimes of India and Indian Express.


Pops | 8 years ago | Reply There was an empty space at the Behrain air show next to Tejas where your JF17 should have been. If JF17 is that good, why did Pakistan pull out of th Behrain air shoe chosing to lose the $500,000 entry fee?
Sad but True | 8 years ago | Reply This is a 'carrot and stick' game. India should make F-16 over other aircraft manufacturers or we will sell(?) 8 to Pakistan. @waqas: Do you really believe what you write on JF-17?
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