Defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin on Saturday said the company is looking beyond the production of F-16 fighter jets in India. Company’s National Executive for India Abhay Paranjape said Indian industry will soon define the scenario of production of defence equipments in the future.
Paranjape said both sides will have to work to make technology transfer for production of fighter jets in a smooth manner. He maintained the possibilities of transfer has increased after the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited India on Thursday this week.
In an interview to News 18 India, Paranjape said that technology transfer for production of fighter jets is not just a one-way handover. He said companies from both sides will protect their technologies in their interests.
The company also said American fighter F-16 is best suited to meet India’s demands in modern-day warfare. Integrated Fighter Group Director of Business Development Randall Howard said that fighter jet is capable of carrying more ordnance in comparison with other competitors. Similarly, it can protect 50 percent more space by carrying more fuel. Howard said the fighter is equipped with radar technology of the F-35.
India need not to worry about its association with arch-rival Pakistan. Howard added Pakistan is one of 27 clients for F-16 fighter jets. He said India still have a critical role to play in the production of fighter jets.
The company is one of the major contenders to supply 126 fighter jets to Indian Air Force. Although India decided to place its order to French defence manufacturer Dassault Aviation, it reduced the number of fighter jets to 36.
Earlier, Tata Group and American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin had signed a deal to jointly produce the combat-proven F-16 fighter jets in India. Under the deal, Lockheed will shift its Fort Worth, Texas plant to India.