US aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin said it will not sell its newly rolled out F-21 fighter jet to any other nation if India places an order for 114 planes, in an offer aimed at pitching itself ahead of its US, European and Russian competitors for the mega deal.
The vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Vivek Lall said, “We will not sell this platform and the configuration to anyone in the world. It is a significant commitment by Lockheed Martin and it shows importance of India and importance of unique requirement India has.”
If the firm wins the F-21 contract, then India will be integrated into the company’s global fighter ecosystem, which is a USD$ 165 billion market.
Lall added that the new combat jet is designed to operate across over 60 air force stations in India, and its key aspects include superior engine matrix, electronic warfare system and weapons carrying capacity.
In April last month the Indian Air Force issued a global tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around US$ 18 billion, which is billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurement in recent times.
Lockheed Martin wasn’t the only firm to have bidded for the contract but also it’s competitors Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft Mig 35 and Saab’s Gripen made a pitch.
The Indian Air Force would be looking to enhance the capability of their fleet in the wake of the Balakot air strikes and hence would be finalising one soon.
Lockheed Martin has promised to set up a state-of-the-art F-21 manufacturing facility along with the Tata Group in India and also create an ecosystem for overall growth of the country’s defence manufacturing.
Lockheed, which has a longstanding relationship of 25 years in India, unveiled the F-21 during the Aero India show in Bengaluru in February, saying it will address the Indian Air Force’s unique requirements.
Source : Various