BY ECONOMICTIMES.COM | UPDATED: JUN 21, 2017, 07.19 PM IST
In what could be a big boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme, the defence arm of the Tata Group has signed an agreement with American firm Lockheed Martin to produce and export new generation F-16 fighter aircraft.
The deal, coming days ahead of PM Modi’s first meeting with US President Donald Trump, was signed at the Paris Air Show. It is subject to the condition that the F-16 Block 70 fighter jet emerges as the winner of an Indian Air Force competition to procure more than 100 single-engine fighters.
The Tata Advanced Systems Limited-Lockheed Martin combine will compete with Sweden’s Saab, which will offer its Gripen fighter aircraft for the requirement.
But some defence experts think Lockheed is trying to sell obsolete aircraft to India. Defence expert Brahma Chellaney wrote on Twitter: “India a dumping ground for obsolete weapons system? Lockheed Martin signs F-16 deal with Tata. Why Tata? Because they make the noisiest car?”
"Is Lockheed dumping F-16s on India?" F-16s will become more obsolete by the time the first India-made ones roll out https://t.co/fCWpE3Rkgd — Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) June 21, 2017
“F-16s developed in the '70s have already reached the optimum level of modernisation. The US Air Force has phased them out in favour of the much more advanced F-35s,” Defence writer Rahul Bedi told BBC.
However, Lockheed has countered the argument: “The F-16 remains the backbone of the US Air Force's frontline air fleet and the US Air Force plans to operate F-16s, alongside F-35s and other aircraft, for decades into the future. The US Air Force recently announced plans to extend the structural service life of up to 841 of its F-16s,” the company said in a reply to BBC.
LM is definitely dumping obsolete F-16 to India. If India chooses the F-16 there would be questions left unanswered as it is no match for the Gripen E in every criteria………..and they cost the same……..
The Indian pro US camp are cheering on blindly…….sad…….
If India really goes for the F-16 than it would be wise for Pakistan to go for Gripen even the C/D with MS20 will beat the F-16 Block 70……..and it’s cheaper by 60 million……..
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