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Tata, Lockheed Martin to Build F-21 Fighter Wings in India

Lockheed Martin has established a joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems to manufacture F-21 fighter wings at a production facility in India.

The partnership comes after Tata manufactured parts for a fighter aircraft wing prototype to support a campaign to sell 114 F-21 fighters to the Indian Air Force.

According to Lockheed, the successful development of a prototype wing for the combat aircraft proves that Tata can be one of its potential future co-producers of aerospace equipment. It also helps both companies demonstrate to the Indian military that they can establish a production ecosystem in India.

“Lockheed Martin partnered with [Tata Advanced Systems] to build one of the most technologically complex aerostructures — a fuel-carrying 9G, 12,000 hour, interchangeable/replaceable fighter wing,” Lockheed vice president of strategy and business development Aimee Burnett said at a ceremony in Hyderabad.

She further stated that the newly established partnership reflects Lockheed’s “degree of confidence” in its relationship with other Indian defense manufacturers.

‘New Benchmark’

Lockheed continues to cement its name as one of few aerospace and defense companies with the “complex aerostructure capability” needed for advanced fighters.

In 2019, the company secured separate contracts from the US and Slovakia to supply F-35 and F-16 fighter aircraft. Lockheed has also recently unveiled a new F-35 simulator that utilizes advanced mission training technologies to support the training of military pilots in various environments.

Meanwhile, Tata is still fresh from the success of a $2.9 billion deal to supply 56 Airbus C-295 medium transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force. Forty of these aircraft will reportedly be built by Tata on India’s first private sector aircraft assembly line.

Tata managing director Sukaran Singh said that the successful completion of the fighter wing shipset prototype is another achievement for both defense firms. He also stated that Lockheed and Tata are setting “a new benchmark” for complex defense manufacturing in India that demands high precision and quality.

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