- Feb 17, 2015
Lockheed Martin is in discussion with companies in India with a view to establishing a joint venture (JV) in the country in support of its proposal to locally build its F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The proposal, which rests on an Indian decision to procure the aircraft, is intended to support New Delhi's 'Make in India' programme and the deepening defence alliance between the United States and India.
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson told IHS Jane's on 5 August that a JV model "with Indian industry as prime owner" is thought to be the best method to produce the F-16 in India.
Lockheed Martin did not disclose potential industry partners but they are certain to include Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), with which the US corporation already has close industrial ties and an existing JV to produce aerostructures for the global C-130 transport aircraft programme.
The spokesperson said, "We are in discussions with all of our F-16 suppliers with the common objective of maximising F-16 production in India across the F-16 production spectrum. Those discussions are ongoing, both in the US and with multiple industries in India."
She added, "Discussions between [Indian] industry and the government are ongoing to determine the various elements required to transfer F-16 production to India."
Outlining some details about the local production programme, which was first mooted earlier this year, the spokesperson confirmed, "Lockheed Martin is offering to move the one and only global F-16 production facility [in Fort Worth, Texas] to India."
She added that the proposal features a "phased process [that] would begin with final assembly and quickly move to structural manufacturing and production of the myriad parts that encompass the F-16 from nose to tail".
"F-16s produced in India would be operated by India and available for global export from India.