Lockheed Martin has offered to manufacture in its proposed Indian facility, over 400 new F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft and upgrade some 400 more jets for its international customers.
However, its setting up a manufacturing plant will be conditional to it getting an Indian MoD contract to manufacture over 100 aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (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.
Regarding transferring critical technologies related to radar, weapons systems and communications he said most of these technologies are with vendors who supply the components to Lockheed Martin and once talks progress, the US and Indian governments would have to address the issue.
Key new technologies in the F-16V include the active electronically scanned APG-83 radar, which is also known as Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). The F-16V also features the Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).
On its part, Lockheed Martin is moving ahead with identifying vendors who would supply to the proposed joint venture. Some 70 vendors have been identified, so far, Randall Howard, F-16 Business Development, Lockheed Martin said during a supplier conference in Bangalore, India Tuesday.
“The Indian plant would feed the global F-16 eco-system over time as the facility matures from making fuselage parts to manufacturing whole sub-systems and critical components,” Howard had said in November last year.
“Lockheed Martin has tremendous experience in hand-holding international partners through the manufacturing curve and will do the same with its Indian partners.”
Lockheed Martin already has $10 billion between F-16 sales, upgrade and maintenance prospects for Bahrain, Slovakia and Greece. Bahrain placed a $1.1 billion order for the new version of F-16V block 70 Falcons which can eventually grow to $3.3 billion in value. Greece is likely to upgrade its existing fleet of 80 F-16 to the newer version and Slovakia selected F-16V over Saab Gripen for an estimated $1.8 billion for 14 aircraft.