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SOURCE: THE HINDU

“Lockheed Martin is quite serious in making F-16 fighter aircrafts in India,” said Randy Howard, F-16 director-business development, Lockheed Martin.“Lockheed Martin’s broader proposed F-16 partnership with India — to produce F-16s exclusively in India for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and export customers — stands firm i.e., we want to produce it for India, from India and export it to the world,” he added.

Addressing reporters after hosting the company’s supplier conference here on Tuesday, Howard said, “We are in serious talks with the Indian government and with IAF for its requirements. We are hoping that it comes into reality of making fighter jets here under ‘Make in India’ programme.”

Lockheed Martin is shortly to deliver 100 th C-130J (Super Hercules a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft) and 150th S-92 (helicopter).

“After looking at the indigenisation level of these two products, we are confident of producing F-16 Block 70 in India,” said Howard.

Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) had 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 IAF.

Without quoting the price, Howard said, “Cost of ownership for India will come down drastically, based on the number it buys and the local supplier base (under offset clause) can really drive down cost further.”

“The F-16 provides unmatched opportunities for Indian companies of all sizes, including MSMEs and suppliers throughout India, to establish new business relationships with Lockheed Martin, Tata and other US companies,” said Vivek Lall, President of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

“Exclusive F-16 production integrates Indian industry into a $165-billion fighter aircraft sustainment market,” he added.