American Defence Major Lockheed Martin Proposes 'India Exclusive' Fighter Jets

| January 21 , 2018 , 15:07 IST

Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace and defence major, has proposed to manufacture customised F-16 fighter jets in India, to help India become a part of the world's largest fighter aircraft ecosystem.

"We plan to introduce two new words into the lexicon of international fighter aircraft manufacturing: 'India' and 'exclusive'," Vivek Lall, vice president of strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics said to PTI.

"India-specific state-of-the-art fighter production in India will be exclusive, something that has never before been presented by any other fighter aircraft manufacturer, past or present. There will also be a significant export market available for Indian-made fighters," he said.

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"We intend to create far more than an "assembly line" in India," Lall continued.

"The fighter being offered specifically to India is uniquely the best state-of-the-art fighter," he said

Lockheed Martin is the only company in the world that has designed, developed and produced operational fifth-generation fighter aircrafts, Lall said. He claimed that no other advanced fourth generation platform even came close to matching the real-world combat experience of the fifth generation F-16s.

A response from Admiral Bernard McCollough of Lockheed Martin, however, raised concerns, when he said that on the eventuality of conflict between company contract and government interests they would honour the terms of the contract unless US government said they couldn't.

An Indian American, Lall was instrumental in the decision of the US President Donald Trump-led government last year to sell top-of-the-line unarmed drones from General Atomics, in his previous capacity.