Tata and Lockheed agree to produce F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft in India


Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin to produce F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft in India.

The US-India partnership supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative to develop private aerospace and defence manufacturing capacity in India.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice-president Orlando Carvalho said: “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 F-16 Block 70 could cater to single-engine fighter needs of the Indian Air Force.

The aircraft combines structural and capability upgrades, such as the active electronically scanned array radar with a new avionics architecture.

"The latest F-16 production partnership is expected to support thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the US, in addition to creating new manufacturing jobs in India."

The Block 70 software is claimed to further improve the aircraft’s capabilities through an advanced datalink, precision GPS navigation, and automatic ground collision avoidance system.

The latest F-16 production partnership is expected to support thousands of Lockheed Martin and F-16 supplier jobs in the US, in addition to creating new manufacturing jobs in India.

Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran 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.”

To date, more than 4,500 F-16s have been produced and close to 3,200 of them are currently operational within 26 countries.


Image: Lockheed Martin teams up with Tata to produce F-16 fighter jets in India. Photo: courtesy of Tata Sons Ltd.