New Delhi/Washington: American company Lockheed Martin has proposed manufacturing super advanced F-35 along with F-16 fighter aircrafts In India. The company has expressed preparedness to make changes to the aircrafts as per the needs of the India Air Force. The Indian Air force has a shortfall of hundreds of aircrafts and India has started making the moves to purchase the advanced aircrafts. This proposal from leading defence equipment manufacturer Lockheed Martin is in line with the requirement.
Vivek Lall, Vice President- strategy and business development, at Lockheed has forwarded this proposal. The Project to manufacture the advanced fighter aircrafts will be of a different kind and there can be a demand for the product in the international market. Air forces of many countries have Lockheed’s F-16s in their fleets. But Lockheed manufactures the most advanced versions of these aircrafts and in future these aircrafts may exclusively be manufactured in India, Lall said.
Indian air force has a big chunk of Russian made MiG 21 and MiG 29 fighter aircrafts. These aircrafts are getting old and will have to be decommissioned sooner or later. In view of this situation there is competition heating up in worldwide manufactures to provide these aircrafts to India. There are American companies along with companies from France and Russia. India has made it clear that the ‘Make in India’ initiative shall be given a preference and technology transfer will be a precondition. Attractive proposals are being forwarded by the aircraft manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Saab, Dassault consenting to these conditions.
Lockheed Martin has tried to gain an advantage in the competition by proposing F-16 and F-35 aircrafts. F-35 are fifth generation super advanced fighter aircrafts and it is said that these aircrafts are available only for the American markets.