Lockheed Martin Seeks To Sell a Variety of Aircraft
By WENDELL MINNICK, BANGALORE, India
Lockheed Martin is on the ground at Aero India 2007 hoping to sell a variety of platforms to India, include the F-16 fighter, MH-60R multimission helicopter, P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and C-130J transport.
India has a requirement for 126 fighter aircraft, and Lockheed hopes that India will procure either the F-16 Block 50/52 or the Block 60 model.
“From a configuration perspective, it will be tailored to and fully compliant to the [request for proposal]. It could be the 50/52 or the 60,” said Orville Prins, vice president, business development, Lockheed Aeronautics, India.
India also will have the option of integrating indigenous systems onto the aircraft, he said. As with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed will be providing an active electronically scanned array radar for India’s F-16s.
“The Indian Air Force is looking for a combat capability and affordability that can be easily maintained, and the F-16 fits that requirement,” he said. The RFP is expected to require that a minimum of only 18 can be produced outside India with the remainder produced by HAL.
Lockheed also is hoping to sell the P-3C Orion to the Indian Navy. The RFP was released in April 2006, and Lockheed Martin responded, said Michael Myers, vice president and P-3 business director.
Cathleen Hrustich, Lockheed Martin’s business development manager, said the company is offering system integration for the MH-60R for the Indian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface ship warfare program.
It is “low risk for the Indian Navy, since it’s been thoroughly tested and approved for full-rate production,” she said.
The Indian Navy has a requirement for 16 new anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters. In December 2005, India asked for proposals, and Lockheed submitted its proposal in April 2006. At present, the Navy is evaluating proposals, she said.
“The MH-60 demonstrated a 3-time to 7-time increase in detection range compared to current U.S. Navy dipping sonar systems,” she said.
“It provides some unique benefits for the Indian Navy,” said Hrustich. “The Indian Navy will leverage the U.S. Navy’s $700 million investment in missions systems and ongoing preplanned product improvements through 2015.”
Lockheed also is participating in the bidding process for a transport plane. In December, India submitted a letter of request to the U.S. government for the Foreign Military Sales program for an air transport aircraft, said Edward Arner, international director, Lockheed business development.
The request is for six C-130s with six optional, he said.