Bangalore, Aug. 25
The US-based defence aircraft manufacturing company Lockheed Martin said it plans to enter into a few initial agreements with Indian companies this year. The move would be independent of any aircraft purchase by the Ministry of Defence.
It would hold another meeting with more companies, nearly 100 of which it could not meet during the August 21-22 discussions it had in Bangalore along with its global suppliers, it said in a release here.
Lockheed's multi-role F-16 is in the race for the MoD's proposal to buy 126 new generation fighters for the IAF. For this week's meeting, Lockheed brought in 15 of its global vendors to meet potential Indian partners, assess their capabilities and familiarise them of its own collaboration plans.
Fifty nine Indian entities from engineering, IT and manufacturing sectors were involved in over 300 separate meetings. Mr Orville Prins, Lockheed Martin's V-P for Business Development - India, said, "Our long-range goal is to form relationships with both publicly and privately owned Indian aerospace and defence companies that could work with us to meet licensed production and offset requirements related to future sales of the F-16 or other Lockheed Martin products. We hope to start this process by establishing some initial agreements this year, independent of any aircraft sales to the Government of India." Lockheed Martin with $37.2 billion worth of sales in 2005, produces F-16, F-35 Lightning II, C-130J transport and P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft.