US offers next generation F-35 fighters to India
In a major move, the United States has sent feelers that it is now ready for transfer of hi-technology weaponry to India, including its 5th generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35.
Though Pentagon has offered New Delhi participation in its missile shield, top of the shelf 4th generation F-16 and F-18/A fighters, weapon locating radars and its new brand of long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, it has so far kept the F-35 under wraps.
But in a surprise move last week, a high-level team from US Defence Major Lockheed Martin met top officials of the Indian Air Force to convey that the F-35 Ligthening-II was available for IAF's 5th generation fighter requirements.
Lockheed Martin's Vice President for Business Development, Rob Weiss told PTI after the meeting that they had indicated that the F-35 was ready to be in reckoning for India's fighter needs beyond the induction of the 126 Multi Role Combat Aircraft.
The offer would come in handy for India as the country's security experts have been struggling to find partners to develop futuristic 5th generation fighters.
Though New Delhi has been in negotiation with Moscow for joint development and joint investment in next generation fighters, the Russian concepts of such fighters is currently only on the drawing board.