Israeli Elbit Systems participated in Lockheed Martin suppliers’ conference held as part of its for F-21 jet Project pitch in India.
“As a long term supplier of advanced avionics for Lockheed Martin, Elbit Systems is exploring ways to support Lockheed Martin’s efforts to maximize indigenous content on the F-21 for the Indian Air Force and on the S-76 for the Indian Navy Utility Helicopter,” an Elbit statement said.
Lockheed Martin has re-christened its F-16 offering for the Indian multi-role combat aircraft procurement as F-21. The aircraft is will be made in India as part of an Indian government requirement to build over 100 of the aircraft in India with the help of an Indian partner. Lockheed Martin has tied up with the Tata group.
In October 2018, Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) and Lockheed Martin Corp. announced an agreement to manufacture F-16 wings in India for export. “This strategic initiative positions TASL to become the provider of wings for all future customers and strengthens its role in the F-16 global supply chain,” a TASL statement had said.
“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,” TASL had said.
The move to rename the popular F-16 as F-21 for India is said to be prompted by growing sales of the F-16 internationally. The Block 70 version has been ordered by several countries even as Lockheed Martin is discussing with India to manufacture the jet exclusive in India for the world market. In addition, the Trump administration’s policy of keeping American jobs in America has formed Lockheed Martin not to move its F-16 plant to India as earlier promised but set it up in South Carolina instead.
A Lockheed Martin statement on the F-21 said, “the F-21 is an unprecedented ‘Make in India’ opportunity ─ combining the strength of Lockheed Martin and Tata to deliver a historic win-win for the US and India.”