Paris Air Show 2017: Lockheed Martin announces F-16 partnership with Tata

19 June 2017

Key Points

  • Agreement between Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited could see F-16 aircraft manufactured in India
  • Further work on supplying the wider supply chain to the F-16 user base would add value to proposal

Lockheed Martin announced at the Paris Air Show on 19 June that it had signed an agreement with India’s Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to produce the Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon Block 70 aircraft in India.

Should the aircraft be selected by the Indian government, the deal would see TASL undertake a range of production work for the aircraft in India in support of the Indian government’s “Made in India” campaign.

Under the agreement, India would be given the opportunity to produce, operate, and export the aircraft. In a statement issued by Lockheed Martin, the company said that the deal would also “position Indian industry at the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world”.

A Lockheed Martin F-16 undergoing durability testing at a company facility in Fort Worth, Texas. (Lockheed Martin)A Lockheed Martin F-16 undergoing durability testing at a company facility in Fort Worth, Texas. (Lockheed Martin)

Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, further added in a statement to the press that, "Our partnership significantly strengthens the F-16 'Made in India' offer, creates and maintains numerous new job opportunities in India and the United States, and brings the world's most combat-proven multirole fighter aircraft to India."

Speaking to Jane’s in November, Randy Howard, director of business development in Lockheed Martin's Integrated Fighter Group, said that the then-proposed collaboration also provides an opportunity for Indian industry to "quickly progress from final assembly to manufacture and assembly of structural elements of an advance fighter aircraft, the F-16". Howard further added that, "Indian industry would then be able to move into the manufacturing of subassemblies and subsystems for future F-16 aircraft. This would position Indian industry to play a critical role in supporting the worldwide fleet of the more than 3,200 F-16s currently in operational service."

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