Lockheed wants to send production of F-16 to India

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edpop

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Unread post06 Aug 2016, 08:16

US firm offers to shift F-16 production line to India

NEW DELHI: Aug 5, 2016, DHNS

Aviation major Lockheed Martin has offered to shift its production line for F-16 fighter jets to India in partnership with a local company.

The US firm said it wants to close down its original production in Fort Worth in Texas, which has produced more than 3,600 F-16s so far, and create a major industrial facility in India to continue with the production. Lockheed Martin, however, seeks a ‘significant’ order from the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a part of the package deal on the switch, company officials said here.

Besides supplying the military jets to the IAF, the Indian production line will also be used as a hub to export the jets, Randall L Howard, who heads the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Business Development programme said here on Thursday.

The proposal comes months after US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said they will encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the cutting edge technology projects.

“Both the sides have agreed to encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the pursuit of a range of cutting edge projects. In support of the Make in India initiative, the US shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration,” a joint statement issued after the Carter-Parrikar meeting in April stated.

Lockheed’s competitor Boeing and European firm Saab too proposed to set up aircraft production facilities in India. None of them, however, suggested closing down an existing production line.

One of the conditions from Lockheed is to have an order from the IAF, which needs more fighter jets because of its dwindling squadron strength.

While the IAF needed 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, the government cancelled that tender and decided to order 36 Rafale fighter jets from the French firm Dassault Aviation.

As its MiG squadrons are being phased out, the IAF had time and again stated its requirement to have more fighter jets to prepare for a two front war scenario.

Lockheed seeks to complete its F-16 order book by the end of 2017 and waits for the US government’s decision to know where the next aircraft have to be delivered. The target schedule for that order may be around 2021.

As officials from both the sides discuss the proposal, the company looks at a potential order of around 200 aircraft— 100 each for the IAF and for export — to create the planned industrial base in India.
DH News Service
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Unread post06 Aug 2016, 11:14

Makes too much sense so it wont happen.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post09 Aug 2016, 02:05

That's part of the "Make in India" requirement India has laid down. France was going to do that with the Rafale. Sweden is offering to do it with the Gripen E (they may even be consulted to help fix Tejas), I think Typhoon also offered it. Point is, if a bidder doesn't show how their aircraft will be built in India, it's a non-starter.

There probably aren't that many large new-production F-16 sales left out there aside from India anyway. So, Lockheed's not making some kind of bold initiative here. They're just going along with "pay to play".
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Unread post12 Aug 2016, 12:30

I wonder what happens when, and IF Pakistan wants new build F-16s? Surely they wont be built by India.
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Unread post12 Aug 2016, 14:32

Pakistan declined the last offer for 8 Vipers when the US Congress refused to fund it.
They may want new Vipers, but not pay for them ;)
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Unread post15 Feb 2017, 19:20

I wonder how much more investment and development it would take to produce an F-16XL version of the block 70 in India? This would, for the most part, solve the vis recce problems with Pakistan's variants and would give them significantly more range and bomb load. Developmentally, I would think that the aircraft is at least even with the Gripen NG--I'm sure all the test data has significantly reduced any risk. Pair it with a -132 or -232 and you probably have 1.2M supersonic cruise in an A-A configuration or a much longer ranged strike platform when loaded up for interdiction.

I wonder of LM has considered this? It doesn't seem like there would be much downside.
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 01:03

Considerable time and funding would be required to develop and set up manufacturing for a production XL. The prototypes were cobbled up development F-16s, so the design was not up to production standards. A complete production redesign would be required, along with development ground and flight testing - not quick or cheap. Lots of flight test data was obtained from the demonstrators, but does it still exist? Who knows, it was gathered more than thirty years ago.
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 01:16

I suppose the question is how much appetite does India have for the potential knowledge gained from working through those issues as they may have equal challenges with the Gripen. The gain in expertise from undertaking such a task, aided by the LM experts, would have significant secondary effects for the overall aviation industry in India. A mere relocation or duplication of another assembly line (Gripen or Viper) would also be beneficial but would not add to the depth of experience needed for future endeavors.

I do think a fully developed XL would be quite superior to any Gripen.
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 05:20

They may as well reinvent F-16 with Al-31F at that point considering their ability to at least manufacture those engines. Or better yet, they could rescale Tejas to use Al-31F and cut LM out of the loop.

It's either F-16 as available or something completely different. I would rather see India have it's own F-16 big wing version similar to the Mitsubishi F-2A. They could gain considerably on the wing spar production and whatnot. Isn't the goal to absorb new technology? But like the XL, it's pie in the sky.

Gripen NG production extrapolated out in time would be rather pointless for the IAF.

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