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 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.