With Indian airspace getting crowded due to the boom in aviation sector, Lockheed Martin - the US maker of the famous F-16 fighter jets - has offered to operate its latest navigation system in Mumbai on experimental basis to showcase its technological prowess in the country.
"We are offering an adaptation of Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) system for implementation in Mumbai in the next six months," Judy Marks, President of Lockheed Martin's ransportation and Security Solution division, said in an interview in New Delhi.
The satellite-based ATOP became operational only in March at Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center in Alaska. It provides safe separation of aircraft in oceans and other areas that are outside radar coverage or radio communication.
The system also detects conflicts between aircraft, provides satellite data link communication and information to air traffic controllers (ATCs), providing them the flexibility to provide direct fuel-efficient air tracks over long oceanic routes as well as large land mass.
Such new generation technologies, she said, would help "increase the capacity of our (US) National Airspace System by three-fold over the next two decades".
Pointing out that Indian carriers such as Air India had placed large aircraft orders with Boeing, Marks said her company had formed a strategic alliance with the US aircraft manufacturer to have aircraft systems, avionics, simulation and trans-oceanic communication equipment placed in the planes produced by them.
"Boeing and Lockheed Martin have invested in air traffic management for decades and will bring together world-class capabilities to accelerate solutions for growing air traffic capacity problem," Marks said.
Lockheed Martin was open to transfer technology to Indian industry on maintenance and training facilities, she said, adding "we are also looking for partnerships" with them.
Marks said her division, which earned almost half the annual turnover of the US defence and aviation major, was in talks with Indian authorities on several other technologies.
This included ATC mission control systems, perimeter intrusion detection systems, bomb sensors, chemical and biological weapons detectors to biometric identification cards and modernisation of postal services.
She said Lockheed Martin's capabilities in census, electoral roll data storage and maintaining patient records could be of much use in the Indian context.
"We have made an initial pitch with Indian authorities to modernise the postal services," Marks said, adding that talks were also held on maintaining census data and transfer the technology used in these activities.
Discussions have been held with Border Security Force on various technical issues, she said, adding these were "very initial opportunities to showcase our general capabilities".
Marks said Lockheed Martin had been selected by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which governs all aviation activities in the country, to propose a solution for a satellite-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast system to help pilots and ATC to keep the sky safe.