Lockheed Martin: we are actively pursuing UAV opportunities in India

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 02, 2016

PHIL SHAW Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India

Fighter jet maker in talks with Indian players to manufacture systems locally

American fighter jet maker Lockheed Martin is keen to support the Make in India initiative.

Apart from offering to manufacture F-16 fighter aircraft and setting up its manufacturing facility in India, the aerospace and defence company is looking to replicate the success of its C-130J Super Hercules, a military transport aircraft, and the company’s largest programme in India.

In an e-mail interview to BusinessLine, Phil Shaw, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin India, outlined how all the C-130Js have major elements manufactured in India. With modern technological equipments such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and radars being utilised by the Indian Army for surveillance in Siachen, Shaw said the company has a variety of UAVs to offer India’s military and security forces. Edited excerpts:

The Indian Air Force had placed an order for the procurement of six C-130J transports for special operations in January 2008. With India's Ministry of Defence procuring an additional aircraft, what is the current status of the additional aircraft?

An order for six additional C-130J transport aircraft was placed with the US Government at the end of 2014. The delivery of these aircraft is expected to begin in 2017.

What are the different projects in India that Lockheed Martin is working on?

Lockheed Martin is under contract to provide sustainment support to the India Air Force C-130J fleet, which began in 2015. We also supply a substantial part of the Apache Helicopter mission equipment and weapons, and so will be responsible for delivering this capability through Boeing, as these helicopters are delivered to the IAF.

In addition, we have supplied Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 simulators to a training facility in Gurgaon, which provides simulator training to the majority of Indian operators of these aircraft types.

Can you enumerate on the cutting-edge technologies that Lockheed Martin is bringing to India as part of its offsets requirement?

Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems joint venture, Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd (TLMAL), is currently manufacturing major aerostructure components for the worldwide C-130J fleet in India. TLMAL is now providing the tail empennage for all C-130Js, which are assembled in our Marietta, Georgia, USA facility.

The first flight with an Indian tail took place at the end of 2014, and now all C-130Js produced have major elements manufactured in India.

In addition to this, as part of our obligation for the first tranche of C-130Js, Lockheed Martin has provided a training facility co-located with the first C-130J squadron of aircraft to operate in India.

Lockheed Martin is considered a leader in UAV technologies. Is the company actively pursuing UAV opportunities in India?

We are actively pursuing UAV opportunities for both the military and civil markets in India, and are in dialogue with potential customers to describe the capability that we can offer.

Which are the different UAVs currently under consideration in India?

Lockheed Martin has a variety of UAVs to offer India’s military and security forces, which are operational around the world.

This includes the next-generation Desert Hawk III Unmanned Aircraft System, Indago quadrotor unmanned aerial system, Fury is an unmanned aircraft that brings strategic capabilities to the tactical warfighter and then there is Tethered Aerostat Systems.

Have you tied up with any Indian companies, with regards to defence as well as UAVs?

We have a joint venture partnership with Tata Advanced Systems to produce aero-structure components in Hyderabad, and we have an agreement to produce and distribute our gyrocam technology in India with VEM Technologies in Hyderabad.

(Gyrocam sensor systems deliver an elevated, unobstructed, 360-degree surveillance advantage to military, and can support surveillance missions).

We are also in regular dialogue with other Indian industry partners for systems that we might produce in India, subject to the demand from the Indian government.

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Published on March 02, 2016
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