Time ideal to make F-16Vs in India: Lockheed Martin
Goa, March 30: American plane-maker Lockheed Martin (LM) says they are ready to bring in all the expertise and set up a production line to roll out advanced F-16s from Indian shores.
In an interview to OneIndia DefExpo-2016, senior officials said the new thought process perfectly sinks in with the Make in India initiative.
Randall L Howard, Director, Integrated Fighter Group, Aeronautics Strategy & Business Development, says that the opportunity is ideal for LM.
"There is an urgent need for a single engine fighter aircraft in India now. If we have to set up a shop here, it has to be a government-to-government decision. We are in talks with the government," says Randall.
With around 4600 F16s flying around in 26 countries, LM says no other plane-maker could come in close of their expertise.
F-16V is a tech beast
"We are offering latest F-16Vs to India, which is a tech beast by itself. It has a new AESA radar, new mission computer, additional weapons, upgraded cockpit and a host of new features. We have had LM plants in five countries and hence setting up one in India wouldn't be a problem," says Randall.
When told that setting up a new plant would require testing facilities as well, which currently only HAL has, Abhay Paranjape, Director, Business Development, LM, said they would go by what the government wants.
"We were to work with HAL for MMRCA. We already have a successful JV running with the Tatas on the C-130Js in Hyderabad. There are other private players as well with whom we could work with," he said.
According to him the suitable factors that are favouring LM are, a market potential, a confident industry, a user in need (read as IAF) and the renewed thrust on Make in India.
He said the LM plant in India would help companies in the region to be part of a global supply chain, which would be the biggest advantage they would drive under the Make in India scheme.
LM officials say that the F16s in the world over are flying over 8000 hours with further upgrade options available.