Lockheed Martin
India Strategic|September 2017

In Jet Speed to Make F-16s in India

Air Marshal VK Jimmy Bhatia (Retd)

NEW DELHI. Lockheed Martin is in jet speed to make the latest variant of its F-16 Block 70 in India.

During the Paris Air Show, on June 19, the company announced a co-production agreement with the Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TATA), and now it has disclosed that in anticipation of a contract from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for a single engine aircraft manufacturing facility, it has already initiated steps to create the required ecosystem in the country. Diplomatic sources indicate that the US Government is also aggressively backing the Lockheed Martin proposal in Government-to-Government (G-2-G) talks with the Indian Government.

Mr Abhay Paranjpe, Executive Director, International Business Development and Mr Randall L Howard, Business Development head for F-16 said during a recent tete-a-tete with Team India Strategic in New Delhi that the company had already worked out the best available systems that could be integrated in the aircraft, assuring: “We will provide whatever the IAF asks for, and our technology will be unmatched and unprecedented.”

We pointed out that Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, had told us in an interview that IAF now logically expects better specifications than were asked for in the 2007 tender for the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). The F-16, which was the first to bring a powerful Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar on board in its Block 60 aircraft delivered to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) way back in 2004, does not yet have the Infra Red Search and Track (IRST) system.

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