American aerospace major Lockheed Martin, which has offered to build F16 fighter jets under ‘Make in India’ initiative, has shown interest in expanding its footprint here and “stepping up investments”, officials said today.
Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and CEO of Lockeed Martin, who wrapped up her two-day visit here, met Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday and held detailed discussions.
“The discussions focused on the relaxation of FDI norms and stepping up of their investments,” a ministry source said.
Sources said she also met top officials at the Ministry of Defence besides various political and business leaders.
All her meetings, including with industry bodies, were kept out of bounds for the media.
“Meeting with political leaders, senior government officials and leading Indian industrialists, Hewson highlighted Lockheed Martin’s sponsorship of the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) as an example of effective partnership in action,” said a company release.
It said the company’s commitment to the ‘Make in India’ policy, the national ‘Skills Initiative’ and to working with industrial partners in India to expand its business footprint was a feature of discussions she had during her trip.
The statement highlighted that every C-130J airlifter sold internationally contains major aerostructure assemblies manufactured in India by Tata and every S-92 medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has a cabin manufactured by Tata in Hyderabad.
“I look forward to growing our 25-year story in India and to establishing greater and more meaningful partnerships that will help grow the Indian economy and community,” she was quoted as saying.
Even as Lockheed Martin remains confident about its bid to manufacture in India F16s, used by the Pakistan Air Force also besides a host of other countries, the company faces tough competition from Boeing with its F/A 18, Saab with Gripen, Dassault Aviation with Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
India is expected to take a call in the next one year on the aircraft that it wants for the Indian Air Force under ‘Make in India’.