Aero India 2019: Here’s Lockheed’s Pitch To Sell Its Fighter Jet To India
Lockheed Martin said it introduced the F-21 aircraft solely for India as it eyes the $20-billion fighter jet deal.
“There is no plan B (if it doesn’t get the order),” Vivek Lall, vice-president, strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin, told BloombergQuint in an interview. “F21 is uniquely being made for the country.”
Lockheed is yet to file a request for proposal for the jet as it previously pitched F-16. The company said it will be making the new jet from scratch in India with Tata Advanced Systems, its strategic partner.
Lockheed Martin is vying with Boeing Co., Saab and Dassault Aviation as the country looks to replace its ageing fleet. At the biennial air show in Bengaluru, they showcased the aircraft they are hawking as they seek an early deal.
Sweden’s Saab that makes the Gripen E fighter has offered a full technology transfer while Boeing that makes the F/A-18 Super Hornet is offering to build a new factory.
Lall said Lockheed’s aircraft is not just customised to meet the Indian Air Force requirements such as retractable refueling probe and 12,000 hours service life but it’s also 30-40 percent cheaper in terms of operational cost of a twin-engine fighter.
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