Our Bureau

Bangalore, Feb. 9

US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) have signed a technical assistance agreement relating to the P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft programme.

The agreement will allow the companies to share export-controlled technical data related to P-3 airframe component design, manufacturing and overhaul.

The agreement has been approved by the US Department of State.

"The signing will allow us to proceed to the next level of maturity in our business relationship with HAL," the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Regional Vice-President, Mr Dennys Plessas, told a news conference at Aero India 2005.

India is one of the countries currently studying the acquisition of used P-3 aircraft. The Indian Navy has been studying this under an intern-Government agreement with the US Navy. Before being delivered to the Indian Navy, the aircraft will undergo mission system upgrade and airframe modernisation, which will give them an expected service life of 20-30 years.

The data exchanged under the agreement will allow HAL to provide detailed technical and commercial proposals for participation in the airframe modernisation programme.

Lockheed Martin manufactures F-16, F-35, F-117, C-5, C-130 and other fighter aircraft. The company makes major components for the F-2 fighter and is a co-developer of C-27J tactical transport and T-50 advanced jet trainer.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 10, 2005)
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