New Delhi: Lockheed Martin Corp. on Tuesday announced its agreement to commence production of F-16 wings in India.
This strategic initiative positions Tata Advanced Systems Limited’s (TASL) to become the provider of wings for all future customers and strengthens their role in the F-16 global supply chain. TASL is Lockheed Martin’s strategic industry partner in India.
Producing F-16 wings in India will strengthen Lockheed Martin’s strategic partnership with Tata and support ‘Make in India’. The planned F-16 wing production move to India is not contingent on the Government of India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force.
“Building F-16 wings in India is a natural next step that builds on our successful partnerships with Tata on the C-130J [airlifter] and S-92 [helicopter],” said Vivek Lall, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
“This is a strategic business decision that reflects the value of our partnerships with India and the confidence we have in Tata to perform advanced defence manufacturing work and deliver world-class products,” added Vivek.
Lockheed Martin’s broader proposed F-16 partnership with India – to produce F-16s exclusively in India for the Indian Air Force and export customers – stands firm. Lockheed Martin recently submitted a comprehensive, fully compliant 600-plus page Request for Information (RFI) response to the Indian Air Force.
Lockheed Martin and TASL announced last year that the two companies intend to join hands to produce the F-16 Block 70 in India if the aircraft is selected by the Indian Air Force.
The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.
To date, 4,604 F-16s have been procured by 28 customers around the world. Approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are flying today with 25 leading air forces, including the U.S. Air Force.