Lock­heed Martin

The Best for IAF & In­dus­try!

SP's Aviation - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - — By Ro­hit Goel

Ab­hay M. Paran­jape (Ab­hay): We ex­pect the pro­gramme to a hy­brid case, where there is a di­rect con­tract for the ca­pa­bil­ity trans­fer of pro­duc­tion and there a FMS case for the air­craft so it will be a hy­brid case. US com­pa­nies have done that in the past in mul­ti­ple coun­tries so that will prob­a­bly be the case here but we don’t know ex­actly how the In­dian gov­ern­ment is think­ing.

Ran­dall L. Howard (Randy): Cer­tainly in the past we have done that in the other coun­tries as well. We also have coun­tries where we started with FMS for the air­craft and tran­si­tioned over time into a li­censed co-pro­duc­tion. There are sev­eral ex­am­ples where we have es­tab­lished pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity in other coun­tries. One ex­am­ple would be Korea where we worked with the Korean Air Force and KAI. They started with a FMS kind of a pro­gram where Lock­heed Martin had the re­spon­si­bil­ity for the pro­duc­tion of the air­craft, we built a pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity there with KAI and the second tranche of air­craft was a li­censed pro­duc­tion pro­cessed by KAI. An­other per­fect ex­am­ple is Turkey. That pro­gram started as a joint ven­ture. It evolved over time and built up the Turk­ish in­dus­try TAI which is to­day Turkey’s largest de­fence in­dus­try. It is this kind of ex­pe­ri­ence that we bring to the ta­ble with In­dia that Lock­heed Martin has suc­cess­fully shown on how it is done with other coun­tries.

We also suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished pro­duc­tion line in Bel­gium, The Nether­lands. With F-16 there were four other coun­tries. Each of these coun­tries have gone with those fa­cil­i­ties and moved them to an­other level. We built an eco-sys­tem there and they used that to pro­pel them­selves to the next set. T-50 is an ex­act ex­am­ple of, an out­come of work­ing with the lo­cal in­dus­try, trans­fer­ring tech­nol­ogy, cre­at­ing ca­pac­ity, so suc­cess­ful to the point that T-50 is now be­ing ex­ported to other coun­tries and is be­ing of­fered to the US Air Force.

It is a skill-set that Lock­heed Martin has. You don’t just wake-up and go do this in an­other coun­try. You need to know how to do it, how to work with lo­cal in­dus­try, how to work with the US or the host na­tion where the tech­nolo­gies are com­ing from, how to work with all of those pro­cesses, how to teach the lo­cal in­dus­try on how to build your prod­uct and in all of these, Lock­heed Martin has been very suc­cess­ful.

Ab­hay: F-16 has seen dif­fer­ent vari­ants as it has evolved over time. What we are of­fer­ing is the lat­est vari­ant — Block 70. What we are of­fer­ing is to move the sole pro­duc­tion line, which is in the US right now, to move that to In­dia. We won’t just as­sem­ble the air­craft here but also do man­u­fac­tur­ing of the var­i­ous struc­tures, com­po­nents, the pieces that will go in it even­tu­ally. We will do a phased ap­proach, start with the as­sem­bly, start with the struc­tures and com­po­nents, start with the sys­tems. Even­tu­ally the goal is to do as much as pos­si­ble in In­dia and help the Prime Min­is­ter’s vi­sion of ‘Make in In­dia’ by build­ing a man­u­fac­tur­ing eco-sys­tem and pro­vide this air­craft for the In­dian Air Force. Also, since this will be the ex­clu­sive pro­duc­tion line we will also ex­port from here as we con­tinue to sell the air­craft world­wide. The In­dian in­dus­try will be right in the mid­dle of ex­port­ing the air­craft, build­ing the sys­tems, the com­po­nents, the parts and par­tic­i­pat­ing in fu­ture up­grades.


To­day we are ac­tively in­volved in dis­cus­sions with about five coun­tries in the Mid­dle East, South East Asia, South Amer­ica and Cen­tral Europe for the pur­chase of this air­craft. Some of these are very near term op­por­tu­ni­ties. As soon as we can get a de­ci­sion and stand-up the ca­pac­ity here in In­dia, our in­tent would be to pro­duce the F-16 for these other coun­tries, as they con­tinue to ex­press an in­ter­est, from here and to de­liver those air­craft from here.

This is not an of­fer that any of our com­peti­tors has. There is still a very strong de­mand for the F-16. Coun­tries recog­nise the added ca­pa­bil­i­ties that con­tinue to be put into the air­craft. In our com­peti­tor’s cases, they have pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties that are ei­ther home or abroad that have to con­tinue to be used to pro­duce the air­craft for var­i­ous cus­tomers. So this is an ex­clu­sive op­por­tu­nity to be the only place where F-16s are made.

Ab­hay: We have a joint ven­ture with TASL which has been very suc­cess­ful. What we are see­ing that once trained cor­rectly, the In­dian work force is able to de­liver prod­ucts that are of good qual­ity, on tar­get, price and sched­ule. We have great con­fi­dence that TASL has the right skill set. Lock­heed DNA and TATA DNA matches very well. We are com­pat­i­ble so we have de­cided that for this par­tic­u­lar ef­fort, we want to work with TASL and build that ca­pa­bil­ity here in In­dia. We also know that the en­tire man­u­fac­tur­ing eco-sys­tem will in­volve work­ing with sev­eral com­pa­nies. We will look at de­vel­op­ing that en­tire man­u­fac­tur­ing eco-sys­tem here of In­dian com­pa­nies but TASL will be our pri­mary part­ner. De­tails of this part­ner­ship are still to be worked out.

We are very con­fi­dent that they are the right com­pany to work with. They have the ca­pa­bil­ity and also have the same con­fi­dence in us which is why they de­cided to sign up with us.

The re­quired num­ber of air­craft for the In­dian Air Force con­tin­ues to grow. With an ef­fort of this mag­ni­tude, with so much at stake, you can­not af­ford to fail, or af­ford to have large de­lays or have qual­ity prob­lems or any­thing like that. You want a guar­an­tee of suc­cess and we have done this be­fore. We know how to do this, we have the right ex­per­tise!

Randy: This com­ing to­gether for this project of Lock­heed Martin and TATA is re­mark­able. You look at the strength of both com­pa­nies. Lock­heed Martin is the rec­og­nized leader in this busi­ness of fighter air­craft and TATA as the rec­og­nized leader here in In­dia, it is a strong part­ner­ship. If you look around, it is un­matched in terms of what it can bring to the ta­ble.

In case we get it, we en­vi­sion the first small quan­tity of air­craft to come from the US in around three years from the time the con­tract is signed. In the end, the time frame will de­pend upon how many changes the In­dian Air Force re­quires. What we will do is to bring the in­dus­try here from In­dia over to the US and have them work with our peo­ple as we as­sem­ble the first batch of air­craft there. You do that while you are putting in place the fa­cil­i­ties that are nec­es­sary to de­liver the air­craft from here. From there you smoothly tran­si­tion from US-based de­liv­ery to In­dia based de­liv­ery. You es­tab­lish an in­dus­try for sup­port­ing and sus­tain­ing the air­craft not only for In­dia but hav­ing a part to play in the sup­port and sus­tain­ment of the 3,000+ F-16 air­craft fly­ing around the globe which is crit­i­cal for the long term suc­cess of your in­dus­try. It is not to build up this ca­pa­bil­ity to ‘ Make in In­dia’ for your own 100+ air­craft.

‘Make in In­dia’ and Make-in-US are complementary. It is a win-win for both our coun­tries, it is a win-win for both our in­dus­tries, it is a win-win for the In­dian Air Force, in every way imag­in­able. It is jobs here, it is jobs there, it is re­la­tion­ships here, it is re­la­tion­ships there. All of these things have strate­gic im­por­tance more than ever be­fore.

Ab­hay: We are meet­ing with the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties and are cur­rently in the wait and see mode in terms of the gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion mak­ing. We don’t want to in­ter­fere with what­ever their in­ter­nal pro­cesses are. So we are watch­ing and wait­ing to see how that comes to­gether.

On L1, we don’t know how ex­actly the en­tire DPP/SP pol­icy is go­ing to be struc­tured. We don’t know if it is the cost of air­craft, cost of the sys­tem, the life-cy­cle cost, is it cost as­so­ci­ated with trans­fer of pro­duc­tion! It is too pre­ma­ture to talk about it. We are happy with the dia­logue at this stage. We are mak­ing our case and wait­ing for the gov­ern­ment to make up their mind on how they want to pro­ceed.

Randy: F-16 is a big­ger air­craft than Gripen. It has a big­ger en­gine. If you look at the long term pic­ture and the life cy­cle costs of an air­craft that has over 3,200 cur­rently fly­ing and a very ro­bust and eco­nom­i­cally ef­fi­cient sup­ply chain, then F-16 has proven time and time again to be an ex­cep­tion­ally af­ford­able air­craft. F-16 can­not be matched in terms of the value it brings to the cus­tomer. That is why 4,588 F-16 have been or­dered. There is noth­ing else even close to that. The abun­dant mass suc­cess that the F-16 has had is a re­sult of the value that the air­craft has.

The F-16 that we are of­fer­ing here is vastly dif­fer­ent from any­thing that we have of­fered be­fore. It has got the very lat­est ca­pa­bil­i­ties from an en­gine or propul­sion sys­tems per­spec­tive, it has got new mis­sion sys­tems, avion­ics, new radar that is lev­er­ag­ing the tech­nolo­gies of the F-35 radar, it has got a new mis­sion com­puter that is ex­actly what the US Air Force is up­grad­ing their F-16 with.

US Air Force con­tracted Lock­heed Martin 4 to 5 years back ask­ing to ex­tend the life of the air­craft from 8,000 to 12,000 hours. Now we are able to pro­duc­tionise the changes which pro­vide for the new air­craft to do 12,000 or more hours which is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than any of our com­peti­tors. The air­craft has new struc­tural el­e­ments to it, has the lat­est propul­sion sys­tem and new avion­ics. The radar is the lat­est AESA radar by the best radar man­u­fac­turer in the world.


Ab­hay: It looks the same but the in­ter­nals have changed. There is no rea­son to mod­ify as it works so well! The com­bi­na­tion of struc­ture, propul­sion and avion­ics on this is un­matched.

Randy: If you com­pare the F-16 with its com­peti­tors, who­ever they are in our class, this air­plane goes fur­ther. It has sig­nif­i­cantly more com­bat ra­dius, can stay out there for longer and it can take more ord­nance when it goes. And it flies faster and higher and turns harder. It is su­pe­rior! F-16 is un­matched in its per­for­mance. It is the rec­og­nized leader in its class.

We are putting all new stuff in avion­ics, mis­sion sys­tems, com­put­ers, from our prime sup­pli­ers who hap­pen to be the same who are work­ing on the F-35 and the same ones who worked on the F-22. We are tak­ing those tech­nolo­gies and putting them in the F-16. New radars, new mis­sion sys­tems, new sen­sors, new sys­tems and lay­ing in place the op­por­tu­nity for In­dia to have, go­ing for­ward, a ma­jor part to play in where this sys­tem goes in the fu­ture.



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