Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems have joined hands to produce the F-21 multi-role fighter plane which the company says is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force. The US-based world’s largest fighter airplane makers have earlier offered F-16 to India which was replaced by the French Dassault Rafale.
Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 on the opening day of the Aero India 2019 air show in Bengaluru. The company says that it will build the F-21 in India to power the “Make in India” program. Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics said: “The F-21 is different, inside and out,”.
“The new [F-21] designation highlights our commitment to delivering an advanced, scalable fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force that also provides unrivaled industrial opportunities and accelerates closer India-US cooperation on advanced technologies,” he added.
The F-21 is equipped with the advanced technologies developed by Lockheed Martin that are used in the F-35 and F-22 the only 5th Generation fighter aircraft which will help India to become strong airpower in the future.
In April, the Indian Air Force issued an RFI (Request for Information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around $18 billion (INR 12,400 Crore) which is billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurement in recent years.
Lockheed Martin says that the company will not sell its newly rolled out F-21 fighter jet to any other country if India places an order for 114 planes, in an offer targeted to stand up in front of its other competitors for the mega-deal.