Chennai: Global defence aerospace player Lockheed Martin and Indias Tata Group have inked an agreement for the production of fighter plane wings at their joint venture Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd (TLMAL) in Hyderabad.
According to Lockheed Martin, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) envisions production of 29 fighter wing shipsets, with an option of additional shipsets, with deliveries commencing in 2025.
Lockheed Martin formally recognised TLMAL as a potential co-producer of fighter wings in October 2021 after the latter's successful production and qualification of a prototype fighter wing shipset.
Through this prototype project, TLMAL was required to demonstrate the capability to perform detailed part manufacturing and delivery of a fully-compliant fuel-carrying 9-g, 12,000 hour, interchangeable/replaceable representative fighter wing, Lockheed Martin said on Friday.
"That achievement further strengthened Lockheed Martin's partnership with India; and supports its F-21 offering for procurement of 114 new fighter aircraft exclusively for India and the Indian Air Force by proving additional indigenous production capability. The India F-21 represents an unprecedented strategic and economic opportunity for the US-India relationship and represents a catalyst to future advanced technology cooperation," Lockheed Martin said.
Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics established TLMAL as a joint venture in 2010.
TLMAL demonstrates the government of India's Aatmanirbhar Bharat 'Make in India' and 'Skills India' goals and serves as the single global source of C-130J empennage assemblies that are installed on all new Super Hercules aircraft. To date, TLMAL has manufactured and delivered nearly 200 C-130J empennages..
"I am proud of Tata Group's partnership with Lockheed Martin on this prestigious project. I would like to congratulate the TLMAL team for successfully industrialising and qualifying the fighter wing in spite of the technological complexity involved. I am confident the initiative of manufacturing fighter wings in India will go a long way in strengthening the aerospace and defence manufacturing ecosystem in India," said N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd.
"This MOU between Lockheed Martin and Tata Group further exemplifies Lockheed Martin's commitment to a self-reliant India and the degree of confidence that exists in our relationships with our partners in India," said Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO James Taiclet.
"Lockheed Martin's 21st-century security vision aims to deliver integrated mission-focused defence capabilities with innovation and urgency, and with that, we are one of the only aerospace companies with a complex aerostructure capability for advanced fighters in India. This strong partnership embodies our principle of For India, From India, For the World," added Taiclet.