India’s defense minister has flat out refused an offer from Lockheed Martin corp to build F-16 fighter jets in India. Lockheed Martin has been aggressively lobbying to begin building the jets in India as part of the “Make in India” initiative launched by incumbent Narendra Modi government. Under the proposed agreement Lockheed Martin would build a plant to manufacture the Jets in India on the condition that the Indian government purchases the F-16 jet for its military.
Representatives of Lockheed Martin have been attempting to set concrete plans with the Indian government for months. They have recently meet with several governement officials in India in the hopes of setting the plans for a final assembly line. No plans could be finalized.
An Indian lawmaker suggested that Indian fighter pilots get experience flying the F-16. The lawmaker suggested the pilots participate in the ongoing Red Flag exercises in Alaska. India’s defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, released the following statement to the Indian parliament in response to the lawmakers suggestion:
“The experience of flying against F-16 is what we require as we are not going to induct F-16, at least; as of now.”
It is believed that the Indian governement may be going forward with a deal from another company despite Lockheed Martin’s desperate attempts to sell the F-16 jet to India. The Swedish company SAAB and the French based company Airbus have both submitted business proposals to India as well. SAAB has offered to build production plants for Gripen multirole fighter aircraft. Airbus has offered to launch production of the Eurofighter jet. It is unclear which company the Indian government will turn to for production of its aircraft.
Which jet do you think the Indian governement will invest in? Sound off in the comment section!