Indian business conglomerate, Tata Group has announced that it will commence production of F-16 wings in India, following the finalisation of an agreement with Lockheed Martin.
Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) which is Lockheed Martin’s strategic industry partner in India, will now become the provider of wings for all future F-16 customers.
“The planned F-16 wing production move to India is not contingent on the Government of India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force,” a Lockheed Martin release stated.
“Building F-16 wings in India is a natural next step that builds on our successful partnerships with Tata on the C-130J [airlifter] and S-92 [helicopter],” said Vivek Lall, Vice President 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 and deliver world-class products.”
Lockheed Martin has proposed a broader F-16 partnership with India—to produce F-16s exclusively in India to meet an IAF requirement for 114 fighters,
Lockheed Martin recently submitted a comprehensive, fully compliant 600-plus page Request for Information (RFI) response to the IAF.
Lockheed Martin and TASL announced last year that the two companies intend to join hands to produce the F-16 Block 70 in India if the aircraft is selected by the Indian Air Force.
The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.