April 12: Lockheed Martin is eyeing India as a hub for its defence manufacture and export. After having expressed interest in shifting the F-16 manufacturing unit to the country as a part of the mega purchase of fighter aircraft by the government, the American defence major is now keen on transferring its third generation missile technology to India.
During the DefExpo 18 held in Chennai, the company officials were quoted as saying that it was ready to hand over the third-generation anti-armour Javelin guided missile technology to its proposed unit in India for its future manufacture. The move will be accelerated by the prospected signing of deal with the union government for purchase of F-16 fighter aircrafts.
The company, which has shown the willingness to align with Make in India initiative for the fighter jets, has expressed hope that the deal would help transfer technology o local partners for sophisticated parts or defence products.
Haley Donoho, the business development head of Javelin missile, who was present at the city for the tenth edition of the defence expo, has reportedly said that Javelin will be sold under foreign military sale contract if the Indian government shows interest in the missile system.
Accordingly, Lockheed had already acquired the nod from the US government to transfer its high-degree technology to its partners in India for developing portable missile system. The 22kg auto-guided missile system will feature a range of 4km and will have a combination of ‘fire and forget’ and ‘man in the loop capability’.
Randall L. Howard, head of International Business Development for aircraft at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said that the company would offer a stand-up production line in India that would be completely compatible with ‘Make in India’. He also opined that setting up facilities in India wouldn’t impact jobs in US, adding that the company had full backing of the US government for the proposed shift to India.
The single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft that was seen in action in Afghan and Iraq regions were built around the world, but had the parts coming from the US. According to Howard, this strategy will help continue creating jobs in the US falling in line with the policy of the Trump administration.
By setting up new unit in India, Lockheed Martin is also aiming to transform the country to a production and expo hub by manufacturing all its F-16s in India, including exports from the country to regions like South East Asia, South America and the Middle East. The company has sold over 4000 F-16s to countries across the world till date.