The southern Indian city of Hyderabad is set to be the global hub for manufacturing the wings of the F-16.
On Tuesday, an executive from Lockheed Martin stated, it will build wings for its F-16 combat fighter jet with India’s Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
Lockheed is bidding for $15 billion contract, to supply the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 114 fighter jets, which must all be manufactured locally under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Make in India program.
However, according to Vivek Lall, vice president of strategy and business development at Lockheed, the production of the F-16’s wings in India is not contingent upon Lockheed Martin’s winning the order for the planes.
“Producing F-16 wings in India will strengthen Lockheed Martin’ strategic partnership with Tata and support Make in India,” said Lockheed Martin in a statement.
The announcement comes in the wake of top level discussions taking place between India and the United States which are aimed at deepening defense ties.
Also in the fray are, France’s Dassault Systemes SE’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Sweden’s Saab with its Gripen fighter.
According to Lall, Lockheed had also offered to make India its sole F-16 production facility that would not only supply the Indian military but also other countries as well.
“If India buys the F-16 then it becomes the center of manufacturing for the global market,” said Lall.
Lockheed Martin plans on commencing the production of the F-16’s wings Hyderabad, a southern Indian city, from 2020. Since these were being produced at a facility in Israel U.S jobs would not be affected.
“All F-16 wings globally are to be built in the Hyderabad facility,” said Lall.