Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense contractor has signed an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) to produce the F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft in India. The F-16 is ideal to meet the requirement of the Indian Air Force for single engine fighters. The partnership between a US and Indian company will support the advancement of defense manufacturing capabilities in India.
N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, 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." Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics said "Lockheed Martin is honoured to partner with Indian defence and aerospace leader Tata Advanced Systems Limited on the F-16 programme. 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."
Over 4,500 F-16 fighters have been produced, and there are over 3,200 operational aircraft in 26 countries. The F-16 Block 70 is the most advanced variant of the F-16 produced so far. The partnership will create new jobs in both the US and India. India stands to benefit by playing a more important role in the global fighter aircraft supply ecosystem.