WASHINGTON: Eyeing a greater pie in India's massive military modernisation, top American defence manufacturing company - Lockheed Martin - has said it has proposed a "game-changing" partnership with India.
Vivek Lall, vice president, Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin said that "Lockheed Martin is committed to strategic, long-term international defense partnerships with India. India has a pressing need for advanced, scalable defense capabilities,”. He further added that "We believe our proposed partnerships with India fighter aircraft - for new fighter aircraft, helicopters and other platforms are ideally suited to not just meet, but exceed India's capability and defence-industrial needs in the near-term and well into the future,".
He also said that "Reliable, powerful, available, proven and trusted, the S-76D aircraft is capable of performing diverse naval missions in some of the most challenging environments," While Lall asserted that the company had demonstrated this commitment by announcing last September that it will partner with Tata to produce F-16 wings in India for future customers. When asked about the status of 24 helicopters for the Indian Navy, Lall said the Indian government had issued a Letter of Request (LOR) for Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to the US government for the acquisition of 24 MH-60R helicopters.
Lockheed Martin is also planning to participate in the Indian Navy's move to acquire 111 utility helicopters. The S-76D helicopter is the right platform for the India Naval Utility Helicopter programme.