Washington: American aerospace and defence major Lockheed Martin has proposed to manufacture custom-built F-35 fighter jets in India, which its officials say will give Indian industry a unique opportunity to become part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem.
“We plan to introduce two new words into the lexicon of international fighter aircraft manufacturing – ‘India’ and ‘exclusive’,” Vivek Lall, vice president, strategy and business development, at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics told PTI in an interview.
“India-specific state-of-the-art fighter production in India will be exclusive, something that has never before been presented by any other fighter aircraft manufacturer, past or present. There will also be a significant export market available for Indian-made fighters,” he said.
Lall, an Indian American who last year was instrumental in the decision of the Trump administration to sell top-of-the-line unarmed drones from General Atomics, in his previous capacity.
Noting that the India-specific fighter on offer and its programme’s size, scope and success will enable Indian industry to take advantage of unprecedented manufacturing, upgrade and sustainment opportunities well into the future, Lall said the platform will give Indian industry a unique opportunity to become a part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem. “We intend to create far more than an assembly line in India,” he added.