Lockheed Martin announced today an agreement to move global production of F-16 jet wings to India without any obligation on the part of New Delhi to purchase the F-16 aircraft.
The manufacturing will be done at the Tata Advanced Systems Limited’s (TASL) facility in Hyderabad.
“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 and will execute the F-16 manufacture in India if the partnership is selected to manufacture 124 fighter jets under the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ program.
“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,” a Lockheed Martin statement said today.
“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.”
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 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.