Aug 042016

Two articles from the Deccan Herald (India).

  1. Lockheed Martin wants to close down its original production in Fort Worth in Texas


New Delhi


Aviation major Lockheed Martin has offered to shift its production line for F-16 fighter jets to India in partnership with a local company.

The US firm said it wants to close down its original production in Fort Worth in Texas, which has produced more than 3,600 F-16s so far, and create a major industrial facility in India to continue with the production. Lockheed Martin, however, seeks a ‘significant’ order from the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a part of the package deal on the switch, company officials said here.

Besides supplying the military jets to the IAF, the Indian production line will also be used as a hub to export the jets, Randall L Howard, who heads the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Business Development programme said here on Thursday.

The proposal comes months after US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said they will encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the cutting edge technology projects.

“Both the sides have agreed to encourage their respective defence industries to develop new partnerships in the pursuit of a range of cutting edge projects. In support of the Make in India initiative, the US shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration,” a joint statement issued after the Carter-Parrikar meeting in April stated.

Lockheed’s competitor Boeing and European firm Saab too proposed to set up aircraft production facilities in India. None of them, however, suggested closing down an existing production line.

One of the conditions from Lockheed is to have an order from the IAF, which needs more fighter jets because of its dwindling squadron strength.

While the IAF needed 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, the government cancelled that tender and decided to order 36 Rafale fighter jets from the French firm Dassault Aviation.

As its MiG squadrons are being phased out, the IAF had time and again stated its requirement to have more fighter jets to prepare for a two front war scenario.

Lockheed seeks to complete its F-16 order book by the end of 2017 and waits for the US government’s decision to know where the next aircraft have to be delivered. The target schedule for that order may be around 2021.

As officials from both the sides discuss the proposal, the company looks at a potential order of around 200 aircraft— 100 each for the IAF and for export — to create the planned industrial base in India.
DH News Service

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Make India defence production hub, says NITI Aayog member

Bengaluru, Aug 5, 2016, DHNS

V K Saraswat. DH Photo

NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat on Thursday called upon stakeholders in the defence electronics sector to transform India to be the centre of the fourth wave in defence manufacturing.

Delivering the inaugural speech at the DEFTRONICS 2016, the flagship defence electronics event organised by the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) in association with Nasscom, Saraswat said the defence manufacturing shift globally has seen the Wave 1 from the US to Japan.

“The Wave 2 was witnessed from Japan to Europe and the Wave 3 from South East Asia to China. I want the Wave 4 to be from China to India,” he added. Saraswat also unveiled the Defence Electronics and System Design Policy Recommendations report brought out by the IESA and Nasscom along with global strategy consulting firm Roland Bergerand.

The report estimates that the aeronautics and defence electronics market for India is estimated to be in the range between $70 billion and $72 billion in the next 10-12 years. Almost $53 billion to $54 billion comes from electronics spend as a part of platforms.

“This indicates immense potential as there exists a significant gap between supply and demand. Though India is considered as a ‘soft power’ in the space, we are yet to witness a single Indian company that develops strong end-to-end aerospace and defence software solutions,” he said.

The former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Indian Minister of Defence and Director General of DRDO said this has compelled India to keep depending on foreign companies. “The only option for Indian electronics component companies is to target strategic electronics (defence) industry, and we should act now. We need to understand that the return on investments in the defence electronics industry in India is long-term and the players need to have a long-term view,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said India is required to keep pace with the innovation happening across the globe and need to start providing a stimulus to companies in the defence electronics domain.

“Hence, it is really important for us to create an arrangement for technology transfer with more advanced nations and the role of the government will be significant. They should create an environment for the domestic players to cross-pollinate knowledge and technologies with other countries,” he said.

Commenting on the occasion, IESA President M N Vidyashankar said India is the seventh largest aeronautics and defence market globally and is still dependent on imports to fulfil defence needs.


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