Lockheed Martin offers to shift F-16 production line to India on assured orders from IAF
The company said that it will take forward the proposal only in the eventuality of IAF choosing the aircraft for its fleet.
New Delhi: In what could turn out to be a big boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign, American defence major Lockheed Martin has offered to move to move its one and only production line of the latest version of fighter aircraft F-16 Block 70 from Texas to India.
The fighter aircraft manufacturer said that the new facility will meet Indian and global requirements for the aircraft.
However, the company said that it will take forward the proposal only in the eventuality of IAF choosing the aircraft for its fleet.
"The offer we have given to the Indian government is unmatched and from our side unprecedented," Randall L Howard, F-16 Business Development head at Lockheed Martin, said in New Delhi, yesterday.
Howard said the company wants to make F-16 Block 70 "for India, from India and export to the world". F-16 is the largest-sold fighter aircraft in the world.
The Lockheed Martin offer comes after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that India will choose at least one more aircraft, besides the indigenous Tejas, for the IAF through the 'Make in India' route.
The F-16s direct competitors are its American rival Boeing (F/A-18E), Dassault Aviation of France (Rafale), Swedish plane Gripen by Saab and the Eurofighter.
And, interestingly, all of these companies have also offered to set up a production facility in New Delhi.
"But we are offering not only moving the lone production line to India but also meeting the global requirement through the same unit here," Howard said, adding it is a "win-win situation".
With PTI inputs