Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: After F-16 Rejection, US Offers F-35 Stealth Aircraft To India

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: After F-16 Rejection, US Offers F-35 Stealth Aircraft To India
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / LE BOURGET, PARIS., France - June 22, 2011: After India rejected its F-16 jets, US defence major Lockheed Martin on Monday said it is willing to offer the latest F-35 stealth fighter planes if the US government approves it. "The decision has to be taken by the (US) government.
There has not been any discussion between us and the Indian Government," Lockheed's Martin Director of Communications of F-35 Michael J Rein said, saying his firm is willing to rejoin the bid for the $11 billion fighter jet deal for procurement of 126 Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft.
The Indian Government had rejected Lockheed's offer of F-16 along with another US firm Boeing's offer of F/A-18 Super Hornet from the race for procurement of the jets.
Rein said the offer of F-35 stealth fighter to India has been mentioned in a draft Senate Bill and it was up to the US Government to take it forward.
The proposal to allow sale of F-35 stealth fighter has brightened the prospects of Lockheed Martin returning to the race for the deal, a top official of an Aerospace firm attending the Paris Air Show said.
Meanwhile, the air show here is abuzz with speculation that Lockheed Martin is trying to rejoin the MMRCA bid with its fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), F-35, which is still under development. Lockheed Martin's F-16 offer, along with those from other contenders, was rejected by India in April. Its head of corporate strategy and business development Patrick Dewar said the US Senate Armed Services Committee had "asked the defence department to study the 'desirability and feasibility' of a joint strike fighter sale to India".
Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin had been aggressively biding for the anticipated $11 billion deal.
Rein, who is here to as part of Lockheed Martin’s delegation to Paris Air Show, was replying to a question on reports that the US defence major will offer its F-35 jets to India to rejoin the race for the MMRCA contract, billed as one of the largest in recent times world-wide.
Lockheed Martin had offered the F16IN Super Viper to India which was rejected by the Indian government along with Boeing's F-18 Super Horne and Russian MiG.
India has shortlisted two European contenders, French Dassault Rafale and European Eurofighter for procuring 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) deal for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in April.
However, another executive, not wished to be named, said it would be difficult for Lockheed Martin to rejoin the competition as Indian government has already completed the shortlisting exercise.
India, however, has already launched the joint development of its own FGFA with Russia. Moreover, weeks after the MMRCA rejection, in a move seen widely as meant to compensate the US, India approved the $4.1 billion purchase of 10 C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, manufactured by Boeing. The deal is expected to sustain 23,000 jobs in the US.
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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News