US arms maker Lockheed Martin Corp has expressed optimism for its partnership with Tata Advanced Systems to build F-16 fighter jets, saying that if selected, the deal has the potential to generate economic benefit and jobs in U.S. and India. A statement by Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President & CEO, Lockheed Martin following her meeting with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, said, “The meeting with Prime Minister Modi today was very productive and I appreciated the opportunity to discuss ways we can strengthen the ties between our two countries.
Lockheed Martin has a strong history of working in partnership with Indian government and industry to deliver products and technologies that support national security for India and the region, while generating economic benefit and jobs in U.S. and India, the statement added. It said that the meeting was a great opportunity to highlight the recently announced partnership with Tata Advanced Systems to offer the F-16 to meet India’s multi-role fighter jet mission.
The F-16 is a combat-proven, multi-role fighter that will provide the Indian military with enhanced capabilities and foster greater collaboration with U.S. forces. According to the statement, if selected, the partnership with Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems to build the F-16 in India will support the advancement of Indian manufacturing expertise while also generating new manufacturing and engineering jobs in the U.S.
The partnership was recently announced ahead of Prime Minister’s state visit to the United States. The deal was signed on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show. If they win the contract, Lockheed-Martin will shift its manufacturing base from Texas to India. They believe there is an export potential of $15 billion in this region apart from the IAF contract.
Apart from full service for the F-16s, Tata will also be responsible for all upgrades on the aircraft. The F-16s will be manufactured exclusively in India if this approx. $2 billion deal goes through.