American aerospace and defense technologies company Lockheed Martin reckons that the F-16 Block 70 for India — the newest and most-advanced F-16 — will strengthen the strategic partnership between India and the United States.
“We have partnered with India for more than 25 years and remain committed to fostering technology development, manufacturing and strategic collaboration. Today’s global security environment requires proven success to protect what matters most,” a spokesperson said.
Lockheed Martin says the F-16 is ready for any challenge, combining innovative structural and capability upgrades, such as the Active Electronically Scanned Array radar with a new avionics architecture. The Block 70 software further enhances capabilities through an advanced datalink, precision GPS navigation and Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System.
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“Our partnership and joint venture company with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has also proven that Indian industry can manufacture airframe components for the C-130J airlifter and the S-92 helicopter. We hope to build on that success with the F-16, because when it comes to success in complex environments, we know trusted partnerships can make a world of difference,” the spokesperson added.
Let’s have a look at Lockheed Martin’s Make in India links:
C-130J Super Hercules
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The C-130 programme represents a strong legacy of partnership between the US and India. All C-130Js delivered to customers around the world have major aerostructure components from India included in their build through partnership with TASL in Hyderabad. This partnership with TASL also includes an on-the-job training element that supports the broader “Skills India” initiative.
C-130J Super Hercules:
- Is Lockheed Martin’s largest programme in India.
- Represents the first major military contract between the US and India in more than 40 years.
- Is the world’s most successful and advanced tactical airlifter.
The Indian Air Force operates a fleet of five C-130J-30s and it will receive an additional six C-130J-30s as well. Currently, India is one of 16 countries operating the C-130J Super Hercules, which is the world’s choice for tactical airlifters. The IAF uses its C-130Js to support a variety of missions, from cargo delivery to providing vital humanitarian aid.
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The Super Hercules is also part of India’s C-130J Roll-On/Roll-Off University Design Challenge. Through this initiative, Lockheed Martin provides research grants for teams from Indian universities to work with local industry partners and mentors from Defence Research and Development Organisation to develop design specifications for proposed modules that could be used on a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft.
Sikorsky – a Lockheed Martin company – also relies on TASL in Hyderabad, as the manufacturing base for its global supply of cabin aerostructures for the S-92 helicopter.
Since production began in 2010, TASL has delivered 120 cabins to Sikorsky’s S-92 assembly plant in the US.
Today, production of more than 5,000 precision components that compose each S-92 cabin is 100 per cent indigenous to India — supplied by a joint venture company called Tata Sikorsky Aerospace Ltd., also located in Hyderabad.
Renowned for its safety and reliability, the S-92 helicopter is operated extensively worldwide by offshore oil and gas transport companies, search and rescue agencies, and by heads of state. Sikorsky has produced more than 275 S-92 aircraft since September 2004. The worldwide S-92 fleet recently surpassed one million flight hours.
The Indian Navy has selected Sikorsky’s S-70B SEAHAWK helicopter for its multi-role rotorcraft requirement.
Designed to perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW), the S-70B aircraft will be configured to meet the Indian Navy’s specific and unique operational needs. The proposed Indian Navy S-70B variant will include a weapon management system that integrates an advanced sonar, 360-degree search radar, modern air-to-surface missiles, and torpedoes for the ASW role.
The S-70B aircraft will also enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities to perform non-combat maritime roles, including search and rescue, utility and external cargo lift, surveillance and casualty evacuation. Formalities to enable the successful delivery of 16 of these sophisticated and customised helicopters to the Indian Navy are expected to conclude soon.
When delivered to the Indian Navy, the S-70B SEAHAWK helicopter will be one of the most advanced maritime rotorcraft in the world.