Lockheed Martin’s F-21 fighter jet is competing with compatriot Boeing’s F-18, Sweden’s SAAB Gripen, France’s Dassault Rafale, Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon and the MiG-35 in a deal that amounts to thousands of dollars. tens of billions of dollars in providing 114 fighter aircraft to the IAF.
Michael Kelley, Vice President of Lockheed Martin India, and Brett Medlin, who led the operation to sell the F-21 to India, will hold talks with the Indian government and IAF officials about the tens of billions of billions in sales. this dollar.
Lockheed Martin is known, is actively for this ambitious project. It also said it would negotiate to partner with Indian business group Tata Group, which has been working together to produce the F-21 in the country.
Earlier, Lockheed Martin promised that if it received a contract from India, it would move the production line to this country, and keep the exclusive rights to the F-21 model for New Delhi.
“Once you build an airplane and assemble it in the country, you also know how to take it apart,” Mr. Kelly said. This move is said to signal ease of maintenance if India chooses the F-21.
The F-21 is described as the most advanced F-16 variant ever built, integrating futuristic avionics from the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor.
With the bidding package to supply 114 fighters with a total value of nearly 21 billion USD from India, it has attracted fighter manufacturers including Lockheed Martin of the US.
The US is convinced that the F-21 fighter is developed based on the latest version of the F-16 to suit the needs of the Indian Air Force.
Lockheed Martin confirmed that the F-21 was specially built to the requirements of the Indian Air Force and will act as India’s stepping stone to the F-35.
“The F-21 emphasizes the unique requirements of the Indian Air Force and brings the country into the world’s largest fighter ecosystem,” said Lockheed Martin.
Not only that, the US is also ready to transfer the production line of this aircraft. One of the mandatory requirements of the New Delhi side is that the fighter they buy in this package must be manufactured in India.
In addition, India always requires partners to transfer technology, this is an obstacle that makes strong candidates still fail.
Observers said that the US’s readiness to transfer the F-21 production line (actually F-16) is not surprising, because this type of aircraft is no longer produced for the US Air Force, they are only also for export.
However, the F-21 also has special upgrades such as they will be equipped with a new refueling system, a Sniper aiming system and equipped with many heavy weapons.
The F-21 cockpit is equipped with advanced avionics inherited from the F-35 fighter jet. Weapon load is also raised to more than 8 tons due to being equipped with an upgraded engine.
The weapon payload of over 8 tons of the F-21 is equal to, or even slightly higher, than the twin-engine heavy fighter lines such as the J-11/16, J-20, and Su-30/35.
The F-21 can carry most of the aircraft armament currently in the US Air Force, and it can also carry some French-made missiles. This helps India synchronize weapons because they are also operating the French Rafale fighter.
After a long time placing the main fighter on the Su-30MKI, India now has more options with the arrival of Western fighters.
If equipped with products of Lockheet Martin, the combat capability of the Indian Air Force will be superior to three main fighter lines: Su-30MKI, Rafale and F-21.