US plans to make fighter jets in India


There is a deal being worked between the Obama administration, US defence industry and the Indian government to build US combat aircrafts in India.

A report by The Washington Post says this deal is being worked out at a time when the President-elect Donald Trump is bent on retaining jobs.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing have made proposals to the Indian government to manufacture fighter jets — the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Super Hornet — in India.

In both cases, the aviation companies would be building production facilities in India; Lockheed Martin proposes to move its entire F-16 assembly line from Texas to India, making India the sole producer of the single-engine combat aircraft.

Last Thursday, the president-elect attended a ceremony at a company where his team has brokered a deal to save 1000 jobs. Later, he warned US companies of consequences if they outsource employment.

The proposals have the strong backing of the Obama administration, and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is set to visit India this week.

Although, Lockheed Martin and Boeing claimed that any partnership to manufacture jets in India would not result in a net loss of American jobs but would create Indian employment — about 1,000 positions in the case of Lockheed Martin.

About 300 mechanics on the Fort Worth assembly line would be moved to the F-35 assembly line at the same plant. Others would be given an opportunity to apply for other jobs on the newer F-35, Lockheed officials said, although they concede that some positions would be lost in the move because of attrition or retirements.

Nevertheless, workers in Fort Worth say they are worried about the future.

Pakistan link

The US Air Force is phasing out the iconic F-16, but airplane remains one of the most widely used aircraft in the world, including Pakistan.

There are about 3,200 F-16s in operation around the world. The manufacturer has promised that India would not only produce and export its jets, but it also would play a “critical role” in supporting the fleet.

A potential stumbling block to the deal is the willingness of the US government to part with enough of its mission system technology to make the package palatable to the Indians.

Another strike against it, for some, is that it is the fighter aircraft used by arch-rival Pakistan.






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