Lockheed Martin to manufacture F-16 wings in India (Lead)

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New Delhi : Aerospace major Lockheed Martin plans to produce the wings of its F-16 fighter aircraft in India.

According to the aerospace major, the production would be undertaken in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems (TASL).

Besides, the company made it clear that production of the wings is not contingent on the central government selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force.

As per the company's plans, the fighter aircraft's wings would be manufactured at the Hyderabad facility of TASL and will then be supplied globally.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Vice President of Strategy and Business Development Vivek Lall said at a media briefing here that the production is likely to start by late 2020.

"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)," Lall said.

Currently, the wings are built in Israel.

Regarding the status of the proposed sale of F-16 to the Indian Air Force, Lall, said: "Our proposed F-16 partnership with India stands firm. We recently submitted a comprehensive, fully compliant 600-plus page RFI response to the Indian Air Force."

The company has already proposed to the government that if the Indian Air Force buys the F-16 then it will exclusively build the aircraft in the country and also export from here.

In addition, Lall said that exclusive F-16 production would integrate India into the $165 billion fighter aircraft sustainment market.