Lockheed Martin Current Affairs - 2019
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American security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has entered into an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) to manufacture wings of its F-16 fighter jets in India. Producing F-16 wings in India will support Central Government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ programme and strengthen Lockheed Martin’ strategic partnership with TASL.
Lockheed Martin and TASL joint venture is bidding for contract to supply Indian air force (IAF) with 114 combat planes, estimated at more than $15 billion which must be all manufactured locally under Make in India programme. Lockheed has offered to move its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India.
The proposed production of F-16 wings in India is not contingent upon company winning order from IAF for these planes. It will help to push local manufacturing that will generate jobs and also end armed forces dependence on imports. Lockhead Martin and TASL already have entered into partnership for C-130J [Super Hercules airlifter] and S-92 [helicopter].
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved procurement 24 anti-submarine capable multi role helicopters to enhance capability of Indian Navy at sea. This approval will allow Government to sign contract US based aviation giant Lockheed Martin for purchasing 24 MH-60R helicopters for Indian Navy.
This contract will be direct government-to-government (G2G) deal with United States worth approximately $1.8 billion. MH-60R helicopters (or Seahawk multi-mission helicopters)are anti-submarine helicopters. Buying them will replace British-built Sea King helicopters, many of which are more than three-decades-old.
Multi role helicopters are integral part of frontline warships like aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes. Availability of MRH with Indian Navy will help to plug existing capability gap. For years, Indian Navy has argued that its warships lack any modern anti-submarine helicopters with existing Sea King fleet now being obsolete. At present less than 10 Sea King helicopters are operational and their absence has forced Indian Navy to sail its warships without support of these helicopters. Frontline destroyers of Indian Navy have hangars which can house two helicopters of this class but frequently put to sea without any integral helicopter support.