New Delhi: Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace giant says it will not sell F-21 fighter jet to any other country if India places an order for 114 planes. Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin, says if F-21 wins the contract, then India will also be integrated into the company's global fighter ecosystem, which is a USD 165 billion dollar market.
In an interview, he said the new F-21 is designed to operate across over 60 air force stations in India, and its key aspects include superior engine matrix, electronic warfare system, and weapons carrying capacity.
"We will not sell this platform and the configuration to anyone in the world. It is a significant commitment by Lockheed Martin and it shows the importance of India and the importance of unique requirement India has," he said.
Vivek Lall said if Lockheed wins the contract, it will not only set up a state-of-the-art F-21 manufacturing facility along with the Tata Group but will also help India create an ecosystem for the overall growth of the country's defense manufacturing.
On observation that the F-21 is similar to F-16 Block 70 combat jet, Mr. Lall said such a view is unfair as there have been significant differences between the two platforms. F-21 is different in terms of various aspects including its airframe, weapons capability, engine matrix, and availability of engine options.
"As for example, you are now looking at 12,000 hours of service life airframe in F-21 versus 8,000 hours previously (F 16 Block 70). The additional 40 percent weapons carrying capability is new in F-21 which was not there in F 16 Block 70. The electronic warfare system is uniquely developed for India," he added.
"Looking from a distance may make it look similar to F 16 Block 70, but it is different," he added.
"This is the only fighter in the world which has both the capability," said Lall. "It is a modern cockpit and has a significant piece of ability to synthesize information. These are unique capabilities that we are not offering to other countries in the world," he further said.