A recent report claiming the US denied critical F-16 technology to the government of India is erroneous, the US Air Force and F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin say.
New Delhi is searching for a new single-engine fighter to recapitalise the Indian air force’s aging fighter fleet. The report from Defenseworld.net quoted the Indian Minister of State for Defence saying the US has not agreed to transfer F-16 technology and production to India. But a USAF and Lockheed spokesman confirmed to FlightGlobal that the issue of technology transfer is still being coordinated.
Although Lockheed announced plans to partner with Tata Advanced Systems at the Paris air show, the company has been careful to characterise this alliance as conditional. Lockheed committed to manufacturing Block 70 Falcons in India only if the company wins the contract.
“Any media reports claiming the US has denied or approved the transfer of F-16 technology to India are simply not true,” Lockheed says. “The government of India is still determining its single-engine fighter requirements and government-to-government discussions between India and the USs are ongoing. No decisions have been made yet regarding technology transfer.”
A US State Department spokeswoman referred questions to Lockheed.
“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss potential or pending arms sales before they are notified to Congress,” the spokeswoman says.
Rumors that the US might have denied the transfer of F-16 technology to India appeared plausible, given the programme’s record of technology transfers to foreign buyers.
In 2015, the US denied Korea’s request for AESA radar, infrared search and track, electro-optical target tracking devices, and jammer technology transfers for its future KFX fighter. In the meantime, Korea is pushing for lower technologies for the jet, while continuing to domestic development of AESA.