F-16 team in Bengaluru to discuss potential partnership

Bengaluru, Nov 9 (IANS) After making a bid to sell F-16s to India, a team from US aviation major Lockheed Martin arrived in Bengaluru to meet potential industrial partners, officials said on Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin’s ‘Make in India’ F-16’s (Block 70) executive team are set to conduct a meeting this week with local aerospace suppliers and tier one industry groups to discuss potential partnerships.

“We are offering the exclusive ‘Make in India’ opportunity to produce the F-16 Block 70, the most advanced F-16 aircraft ever offered in India, for India, and exported to the world. The F-16 is the most combat proven multi-role fighter aircraft in the world and is currently flown by air forces in 25 countries,” said Randall Howard, the company’s business development chief.

In October, the Indian Air Force sent a communication to global aircraft manufacturers seeking information on their single engine combat jets to replace its Russian vintage single engine Mig-21s combat jets. In response, Lockheed offered its latest F-16 Block-70 jets.

Earlier this year, the company made an offer to India to move its only F-16 aircraft production line in Fort Worth, Texas, to India.

Speaking on the establishment of F-16 production line in India, Howard said: “This unmatched opportunity extends well beyond assemble in India, but includes manufacturing opportunities across the entire airframe. It also extends beyond the opportunity for India’s indigenous requirements.”

“It would make India home to production of all future worldwide F-16 fighters and place Indian industry in the centre of the world’s most extensive fighter aircraft supply base. This supply base provides support and sustainment for a global fleet of over 3,200 F-16’s,” he added.

Lockheed has already interacted with around 30 aerospace suppliers in Bengaluru but declined to name the partners until industry agreements are completed.

–IANS

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