US aviation manufacturers, Lockheed Martin has offered to build ‘exclusive’ F-16 fighters for the Indian Air Force, much superior to any existing fighters in service world over.
The F-16 deal, like the weapons-locating radars and new contract for the US navy cover for Indian naval submarines in distress, is going to be concluded as a government-to-government deal under the FMS system, which would enable delivery of fighters on fast track basis.
The deal, estimated to cost $6-7m, projects supply of 18 aircraft in flyaway conditions and the rest 108 assembled in India under technology transfer. The total US package, Lockheed officials said would include provisions for product support and training of personnel. Under the program being worked out, 24 Indian pilots would be trained in the US on F-16s and 50-60 personnel for maintenance purposes.