Lockheed Martin clinches F-16 fighter jet deal with Tata

Lockheed Martin clinches F-16 fighter jet deal with Tata
Lockheed Martin clinches F-16 fighter jet deal with Tata

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has signed an agreement with American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin to join hands to produce the F-16 Block 70 in India. The F-16 Block 70 is ideally suited to meet the Indian Air Force's single-engine fighter needs and the US-Indian industry partnership directly supports India's initiative to develop private aerospace and defence manufacturing capacity in India under the Make in India initiative, the companies said during the Paris Air Show recently.

  1. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, said: “This agreement builds on the already established joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Tata and underscores the relationship and commitment between the two companies.”
Tata said the “unprecedented” F-16 production partnership between the world's largest defence contractor and India's premier industrial house provides India the opportunity to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft - the newest and most advanced version of the world's most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter. F-16 production in India supports thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the US, creates new manufacturing jobs in India, and positions Indian industry at the centre of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world. Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said: “Lockheed Martin is honoured to partner with Indian defence and aerospace leader Tata Advanced Systems Limited on the F-16 programme. “Our partnership significantly strengthens the F-16 'Make in India' offer, creates and maintains numerous new job opportunities in India and the US, and brings the world's most combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft to India.” The Lockheed Martin-TASL F-16 partnering agreement builds on TASL's proven performance manufacturing airframe components for the C-130J airlifter and the S-92 helicopter. With more than 4,500 produced and approximately 3,200 operational aircraft worldwide being flown today by 26 countries, the F-16 claims to be the world's most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter ever produced. Lockheed Martin claims the F-16 Block 70 is the newest and most technologically advanced F-16 ever offered. Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a Tata Group firm, is focused on providing integrated solutions for Aerospace, Defence and Homeland Security in India. Sweden′s Saab is the other contender to supply the Indian Air Force (IAF), offering to make its Gripen fighter in India. It has not yet announced a local partner for the plane, which it has pitched as a modern alternative to the F-16s. The company also supplied the components of 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters it made to aerospace company Boeing, where it would be configured and delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the companies said in a statement. The parts of the helicopter were manufactured at Tata Advanced Systems′ Hyderabad factory. The CH-47F Chinook is the advanced multi-mission helicopter which is being operated by the US Army and 18 other defense forces around the world. Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, said: “This delivery is another significant step in our journey to increase defense capability and manufacturing capacity out of India with our strategic partners. “Tata Advanced Systems has demonstrated its ability to deliver high-quality components to the CH-47 Chinook programme on schedule, which in turn helps Boeing meet commitments to our customers. We are clearly invested in leveraging the full potential of capability that exists in India to continue delivering greater value for less cost to our US and international customers.” Sukaran Singh, CEO and Managing Director of TASL, added: “Undertaking the responsibility of complete manufacture and assembly for Boeing gives us an excellent opportunity to display our capability of development and assembly projects in high technology areas to global quality standards. Our endeavour is to significantly contribute to the Indian defence industry and demonstrate our commitment to the 'Make in India' initiative.” The Indian defence ministry had finalised an order with Boeing in 2015 for the production, training and support of 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to enhance India's capabilities across a range of military and humanitarian missions, with delivery set to begin in 2019. TASL said it is already delivering crown and tailcones for CH-47 Chinook helicopters for the US Army and international customers. The CH-47F Chinook is the advanced multi-mission helicopter which is being operated by the US Army and 18 other defence forces around the world. Boeing's network in India includes 35 direct and 120 indirect suppliers from the country that manufacture advanced and complex components and sub-assemblies for a range of various commercial and defence aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner, 777X, F/A-18, F-15, P-8, CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache.

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