Lockheed Martin to shift F-16 Wings' Manufacturing Line to India from Israel

IndraStra Global

Lockheed Martin to shift F-16 Wings' Manufacturing Line to India from Israel

By IndraStra Global News Team

Lockheed Martin to shift F-16 Wings' Manufacturing Line to India from Israel

Image Attribute: F-16 Fighter Jet / Source: Pixabay.com

On September 5, 2018, Lockheed Martin said that it will build wings for its F-16 fighter plane in India with its local partner, TATA Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) in Adibatla area of Hyderabad (by 2020). 

As of now, the wings for F-16 are being manufactured at Israeli Aerospace Industry (IAI)'s Lahav Division in Israel and the shifting the complete production line to Hyderabad would not impact any jobs in the United States. The Lahav factory will continue to be involved in other production assignments for the Lockheed Martin such as currently running F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter's wings production line, inaugurated in the year 2014.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship "Make in India" program - the aerospace giant is bidding for a US$ 15 billion (estimated) contract to supply the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 114 locally built combat aircraft.

Last year in June, both Lockheed Martin and TASL signed a letter of intent for a collaboration to produce the F-16 Block 70 in India if the aircraft is selected by the IAF. Tuesday's announcement goes beyond the requirements of the IAF as it is not contingent on the Government of India (GoI) selecting the F-16 for its air force, according to a statement issued by the company.

"Producing F-16 wings in India will strengthen Lockheed Martin’ strategic partnership with Tata and support Make in India," the company said in a statement. 

Lockheed’s announcement came just days ahead of top-level talks which are being held today at New Delhi between the United States and India, which resulted in the signing of path-breaking Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA).

Currently, the two companies are collaborating via two existing joint ventures in India - Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) and Tata Sikorsky Aerospace, Ltd. (TSAL) that produces components supporting the production of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and Sikorsky S-92 medium-lift helicopters respectively.

With reporting byTimes of India, and Reuters