US firm identifies 200 potential Indian partners
US defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corporation has identified 200 potential partners with which it could team up under the Make in India programme to manufacture defence equipment or components locally, said Vivek Lall, vice-president of strategy and business development at the company’s aeronautics unit.
More Indian firms are expected to join the pool, Lall said in an interview. The remarks come at a time when Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is pitching its F-21 fighter jets to the IAF, which is seeking to buy 114 warplanes.
India is now a “major defence partner” of the US and the two countries are in talks on the “Industrial Security Annex” that will guide the sharing of technology with private entities. India has also been changing its defence procurement policy to assist defence manufacturing in India, and sharing of critical technology with India is becoming simpler, he said, adding: “These are a huge stepping stones” for greater cooperation and sharing of technology. Lall said:“I have seen a lot of positive change.”
Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures, a JV between Lockheed Martin and Tata group has already delivered 108 empennages for the C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft. TataAdvanced Systems Limited has manufactured 150 cabins for the S-92 helicopters.
“If you look at cost, quality and delivery schedule, it is as good or better than anyone else in the world,” said Lall, calling it a “strong testament” to the growing capabilities of Indian industry.
All 5,000 precision components in the S-92 helicopter cabin are indigenously produced, he said. Wings of the F-16 fighter will be made in India by the JV between Lockheed Martin and Tata group.
Lockheed’s interest in working with more local partners comes at a time the India Air Force (IAF) is looking to boost its capabilities and seeking to acquire 114 fighters. Lockheed Martin has pitched its F-21 fighters to the IAF.
Two of the other fighters in the running include Boeing’s F/ A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III and Dassault’s Rafale.