Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems are forming a production partnership to potentially manufacture the F-16 Block 70 in India for the Indian air force. Ratan Tata, former chairman Tata Sons and Tata companies, and Orlando Carvalho, executive v-p of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, signed the agreement at the Paris Air Show on June 19. India is defining the requirements for a new single-engine fighter, and the F-16 will likely be in competition with the Saab Gripen E to meet them.
The agreement will allow India “to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70” models and it “builds on the already established joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Tata,” said Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran, “and underscores the relationship and commitment between the two companies.” Tata has been producing tail components for the C-130J and cabins for the S-92 helicopter.
“Our partnership significantly strengthens the F-16 ‘Make in India’ offer,” said Carvalho, “creates and maintains numerous new job opportunities in India and the U.S. and brings the world’s most combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft to India.”
More than 4,500 F-16s have been produced and 3,200 are operational, according to Lockheed Martin (Chalet 324, Static C2).