US company plan to build F16 jet factory in India

A prominent U.S. defense contractor is in talks with India about producing an iconic American fighter jet abroad, despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Lockheed Martin told reporters Thursday that discussions with the Indian government over plans to move the production facilities for the F-16 Fighting Falcon from the U.S. to India are progressing.

The conversation at this point has progressed between governments, Randall L. Howard, Lockheed’s head of F-16 business development, told.

India’s defense ministry invited foreign manufacturers to produce single-engine combat aircraft in India last year. Not only is India determined to replace its fleet of outdated Soviet-era fighters, but it also aspires to develop its industries and reduce imports to advance the country’s “Made in India” initiative.

The F-16 is being phased out in the U.S. for newer programs, such as the F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter. Abroad, the F-16 remains one of the most widely used fighter jets in the world today.

Other competitors considering moving their production facilities to India include Sweden’s Saab, which has offered to produce the Gripen in India.

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