United States-based aerospace company Lockheed Martin on Monday said that it will not sell its newly launched F-21 fighter jets to any other government if India orders 114 aircraft, PTI reported. The company seeks to give itself an edge against its competitors from the United States, Europe and Russia.
The firm’s strategy and business development vice president, Vivek Lall, told PTI that the latest model of the fighter jet has the capacity to operate across over 60 air force stations in India. Lall said the main features of the aircraft include superior engine matrix, electronic warfare system and weapons carrying capacity.
“We will not sell this platform and the configuration to anyone in the world,” Lall said. “It is a significant commitment by Lockheed Martin and it shows importance of India and importance of unique requirement India has.”
The development follows the Indian Air Force’s tender to acquire 114 jets for around $18 billion, which has been described as one of the world’s largest military procurements.
The firm proposed to set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in collaboration with the Tata group if the government gives it a contract. Lall said the deal will help India create an ecosystem for overall growth of the country’s defence manufacturing.
Major aircraft manufactured by Lockheed’s rivals include Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab’s Gripen.
The firm’s official said the F-21 has a traditional boom-delivered refueling facility as well as an extendable hose-and-drogue refuelling probe. “This is the only fighter in the world which has both the capability,” Lall told PTI. “It has a modern cockpit and a significant ability to synthesise information. These are unique capabilities that we are not offering to other countries in the world.”