Thursday, November 03, 2016

‘Make in India’ Fighter Choice May Be Limited To Single-engine Jets

After confirming the acquisition of 36 Dassault Rafale fighters off-the-shelf from France, India has invited proposals from the U.S., Sweden and Russia to transfer technology and produce a single-engine fighter in-country. The latest move seems to preclude any “Make in India” offers from Dassault for the twin-engine Rafale, as well as Eurofighter (for the Typhoon) or Boeing (for the F/A-18). India has a requirement for approximately 100 more fighters.

The invitation was in the form of letters handed to the ambassadors of the three countries. Lockheed Martin has already responded, offering an upgraded “F-16 Block 70.” It is believed that Saab will follow, with an offer for the Gripen E. It is unclear what Russia might offer, since both the MiG-29/35 and Sukhoi Su-30/35 series are twin-engine designs.

“What we have offered, we believe is unprecedented,” said Randy Howard, head of F-16 business development for Lockheed Martin. The company has committed to transfer F-16 production from Fort Worth to India in phases. The proposal would make India the world's largest supply base for F-16s. Lockheed Martin has sold 4,588 F-16s to 29 customers, and many of those aircraft have a 30-year life that requires the continuing supply of spares and support.

“Bringing the production to India will have a positive impact on affordability for India and the global fleet,” said Howard.
02/11/16 Neelam Mathews/AIN Online

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