File photo: Lockheed Martin’s F16 performs during an aerial display at Yelahanka Air Force Station on the 11th edition of ‘Aero India,’ a biennial air show and aviation exhibition, in Bangalore, Feb. 14, 2017. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)
American aerospace and defense major Lockheed Martin said, Oct. 12, F-16 fighter jets will start flying with made in India wings in the next three years, provided the components made by its Indian strategic industry partner are certified by a U.S. agency.
The U.S. agency which certifies aircraft components is DCMA. It is an agency of the United States government reporting to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
“In next two to three years, manufacturing of F-16 wings will be made in India by our Indian partner, provided the components which they make are certified and approved of by our defense agency,” Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Phil Shaw told PTI in an interview.
Tata Advanced Systems Limited is Lockheed Martin’s strategic industry partner to make F16 wings. The tie-up was announced in September this year.
Shaw said defence procurement world over is a long process and India was no exception.
Lockheed Martin has said its broader proposed F-16 partnership with India to produce F-16s exclusively in India for its Air Force and export customers stands firm.
Asked where F16s would be made in India, Shaw said it would be decided by the Indian government “because it is a matter of national security as well.”
Replying to a query, Shaw said he was not aware of the size of investments made in this project, but the company is aware of the costs and investments required as it has been working with TASL for last one decade.
Responding to another question, Shaw said there were more than 70 suppliers from Tier 1 cities with whom the company is in touch who could become suppliers.
“There are a number of small and medium enterprises,” he added.
The company’s F-16 suppliers interacted with these companies as part of the Lockheed Martin-Tata Suppliers conference held in Bengaluru earlier this week.