Lockheed Martin has been building F-16 fighter jets at Fort Worth in Texas, since the 1970s. The company has revealed that they are willing to shift the production to India by the end of 2017.
The company is in talks with the US Government, Government of India and the company’s Indian industry partners to bring this production to India if the country’s Air Force places a substantial order for these jets.
The decision to shift production to India is subject to receipt of substantial orders from the Indian Air Force for F-16 fighter jets. It is part of the ‘Make in India’ policy and will be a major boost to the market besides augment the diversification of the Indian economy.
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Bringing manufacturing processes to India will allow Lockheed Martin to come closer to the South East Asian markets as the company also plans to export the F-16 jets from India. It is a direct government to government deal which will be conducted through the Foreign Military Sales route. Lockheed Martin will co-produce the F-16 fighter jets with Tata Advanced Systems Limited which has also been partner to other aerospace and defence programs such as the C-130 cargo planes.
F-16 is one of the most mass produced fighter jets in the world. In the past, it has been manufactured at various other locations such as South Korea, Turkey and Belgium besides Fort Worth in Texas in the US. Besides Lockheed Martin, competitors such as Boeing and Saab are also contemplating setting up of aircraft production facilities in the country. The company has sold 4,588 F-16 jets across the globe and faces competition from Boeing, Dassault Aviation of France, Saab and the Eurofighter.