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Lockheed Martin’s enduring pursuit of India’s Medium Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender remains a focal point in the global aerospace industry as the company continues to advocate for its proposed variant, the F-21. Amidst rising production levels at Lockheed’s factory in Greenville, South Carolina, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, the company sees sustained interest in the iconic F-16 fighter aircraft.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is poised to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to all global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) later this year as part of its ambitious plan to procure 114 jets with Transfer of Technology (TOT).

However, speculation arose last year during Aero India 2023 when the U.S. Air Force showcased its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets. Amidst the anticipation, there were conjectures that Lockheed Martin might pivot away from the F-16V and instead offer the cutting-edge F-35A fighter jet to India, leveraging its advanced stealth capabilities and next-generation technology.

Yet, despite the allure of the F-35A, Lockheed’s steadfastly backed recently the F-16V, rebranded as the F-21 for the Indian market. Lockheed claims that the F-21 variant offers a compelling blend of advanced avionics, superior firepower, and cost-effective lifecycle support, making it an attractive option for India’s modernization endeavours.

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