Global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin and Tata Group have agreed to start fighter wing production at their joint venture facility in Hyderabad. As per the Memorandum of Understanding, deliveries for 29 fighter wing shipsets will commence from 2025, the two companies said in an official communication to the media on Friday evening. The option of additional shipsets manufacturing has not been ruled out.
Interestingly, Lockheed Martin stated that the deal further strengthened it’s partnership with India and “supports its F-21 offering for procurement of 114 new fighter aircraft — exclusively for India and the Indian Air Force — by proving additional indigenous production capability”. The Lockheed Martin’s pitch comes at a time when the IAF expects that the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 114 multi-role fighter jets (MRFA) would come in the next couple of months.
“The India F-21 represents an unprecedented strategic and economic opportunity for the United States-India relationship and represents a catalyst to future advanced technology cooperation,” it stated. Lockheed Martin formally recognized Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) as a potential co-producer of fighter wings in October 2021 following TLMAL’s successful production and qualification of a prototype fighter wing shipset.
“This MOU between Lockheed Martin and Tata Group further exemplifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to a self-reliant India and the degree of confidence that exists in our relationships with our partners in India,” said James Taiclet, Chairman, president and CEO, Lockheed Martin. While N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, said: “I am proud of the Tata Group’s partnership with Lockheed Martin on this prestigious project. I would like to congratulate the TLMAL team for successfully industrializing and qualifying the fighter wing in spite of the technological complexity involved. I am confident the initiative of manufacturing fighter wings in India will go a long way in strengthening the aerospace and defense manufacturing ecosystem in India.”