The wings of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter jets will be produced in India, the American security and aerospace giant announced on Tuesday, in a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin has entered into an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for the production of the wings. Lockheed officials insisted that the planned F-16 wing production to India is not contingent on India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force. Lockheed has offered to move its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India. India is yet to make a decision on it.
Producing F-16 wings in India will strengthen Lockheed Martin’s strategic partnership with Tata Advanced Systems Limited and support the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government, officials of the company said. “Building F-16 wings in India is a natural next step that builds on our successful partnerships with Tata on the C-130J [Super Hercules airlifter] and S-92 [helicopter],” said Vivek Lall, VP of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “This is a strategic business decision that reflects the value of our partnerships with India and the confidence we have in Tata to perform advanced defence manufacturing work,” Lall said.