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Will India become main manufacturer of Pakistan's beloved F-16 jets?

Discussion in 'Pakistan Air Force' started by Devil Soul, Jan 11, 2017.

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  1. Devil Soul

    Devil Soul ELITE MEMBER

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    Will India become main manufacturer of Pakistan's beloved F-16 jets?
    By Naveed Ahmad
    Published: January 11, 2017
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    File photo of a F-16 jet. PHOTO: PAF

    India, wanting to upgrade its air force with 400 more fighter jets, has many foreign companies vying for its multi-billion dollar manufacturing contract. Boeing and Lockheed Martin from the US, SAAB Group from Sweden and Dassault Aviation from France are all competing to win the production order.

    Lockheed Martin, which builds Pakistan’s beloved F-16 fighter jets, has offered to completely shift the manufacturing of this aircraft from Texas to India. The arrangement is subject to India agreeing to buy first 100 F-16s (Block 70-72) – the most advanced version of the fighter jet. “We make it in India, for India and then we make it in India and export to the world. If the initial orders are not there, it might not work for the industry,’’ an official for the Lockheed Martin had stated.

    Turkey to modernise Pakistan’s F-16s

    The proposed jet – already titled F-16IN – is being offered with a new radar system, stealth detection and threat detection capability. While F-16s in general have a smaller radar cross-section, the new block won’t have stealth capability.

    If India chooses F-16s over other options, it could be a blow to Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force has been flying F-16s since the 1980s and though it has other multirole jets in its fleet, F-16s have been a crucial part of the country’s air defence mechanism. With India becoming the main manufacturer of the fighter jet, it could create hindrances for Pakistan to acquire the aircraft and its spare parts if not completely choke the supply.

    Good news for Pakistan

    India has not yet decided whether it seeks Saab Group’s JAS 39 Gripen or F-16 (Block 70-72) to upgrade its air defence. Given the urgency to modernise the fleet, the Indian Air Force may choose Sweden’s Gripen jets with the objective of customising to its future needs better over widely popular F-16s. The Gripen system will be alien to both Pakistan and China and it will give India a perceived edge over its regional rivals.

    Blow to Pakistan? India could become next F-16 hub

    Also, even if we assume Lockheed Martin is the victor, India may not have its first F-16IN delivered before 2022. Installation of the plant will take a few months. Then, it takes 36 months to deliver the first units. The total number of units per year depends on the number of assembly lines. Meanwhile, the cumbersome process of hiring and training the local manpower must be taken into account to ensure Modi’s envisaged Make-in-India goal.

    Additionally, there’s the Trump factor. Will the next US administration let Lockheed Martin and other mega corporations invest billions of dollars in India and make Americans jobless? Prima facie, US President-elect Donald J Trump has categorically stated that the country was passing through the “greatest jobs theft” in the history of the world by nations such as India, China, Mexico and Singapore. He is already upping the ante for US corporations to stem outward flow of jobs. Carrier, an air-conditioner manufacturer, was the first one to attract the president-elect’s attention against investing in Mexico. Meanwhile, the automobile industry giant received an explicit threat to big border tax on vehicle manufactured at foreign plants. Ford scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico. If Lockheed Martin relocates F-16 manufacturing to India, over 2,000 Americans will be losing jobs in Fort Worth unless the company manages to absorb them in fledging F-35 program on the same campus.

    Trump’s protectionism comes in direct conflict with Modi’s Make-in-India initiative. In Lockheed Martin’s case, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s reclusive policy promises less to the foreign investor while seeking the lion’s share: “self-reliance, indigenisation, technology upgrade and achieving economies of scale including development of capabilities for exports in the defence sector”.

    Given these possible dangers, anxiety is soaring high in India with its largest entrepreneurial body – Associated Chambers of Commerce of India – issuing the following statement: “India needs to watch out and must build bridges with the upcoming American administration and assuage concerns about American jobs”.

    Lockheed’s prospects ahead

    During the Obama tenure, US-India bilateral trade has grown from $19 billion in 2009-2010 to over $120 billion in 2015, say official estimates. Last year, proponents of Make-in-India were hoping to boost the bilateral trade to $500 billion.

    India to have ‘eye in the sky’ to spy on Pakistan, China

    The country enjoys impressive support on both sides of the isle in Congress as well as Senate. But with Trump in the picture now, it’s obvious that the Obama administration’s emphasis on strengthening partnership with India won’t escape uncontested.

    Delhi must be preparing for hard bargains and lobbying in Washington and given these hurdles, it might like to wait for a more suitable time and even more modern fighter aircraft for the Lockheed Martin to produce in India.

    Naveed Ahmad is a Pakistani investigative journalist and academic with extensive reporting experience in the Middle East and North Africa. He is based in Doha and Istanbul and tweets @naveed360
     
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  2. Dalit

    Dalit SENIOR MEMBER

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    LOL They are not our beloved anymore. F-16 is past tense for PAF. Let's get real about that.

    Also, if India really decides to get the F-16s that will certainly be the last nail in the coffin as far as PAF is concerned. It is impossible for PAF to fly an aircraft operated by our enemy. They would know its strengths and weaknesses and that can never be a good thing for PAF. It would compromise a lot of things. It would obviously also mean that the F-16 would be the last US plane flown by the PAF.

    The Americans have lately been acting very irritatingly towards Pakistan. This latest desperate attempt to move F-16 production facilities to India speaks volume. Personally, I hope they do go ahead.

    I'm glad Pakistan has found a reliable partner in China. We saw it coming long ago. The JF-17 is ample proof. Time has come to put our entire focus on the latest block and production output. This is our mainstay along with a yet to be decided 5th gen aircraft.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  3. Muhammad Omar

    Muhammad Omar ELITE MEMBER

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  4. graphican

    graphican SENIOR MEMBER

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    If the offer of F-16s IN was that appealing, India must had made a decision before Obama leaves his office.

    I don't think India will agree for F-16s, provided Pakistan has decades of platform experience, which Indian pilots would take years to acquire.
     
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  5. naveedullahkhankhattak

    naveedullahkhankhattak SENIOR MEMBER

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    whoever wrote it should be given indian Bollywood Oscar.
    Lockheed will still produce spares in USA and other friendly countries.
     
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  6. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought FULL MEMBER

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    I would be amazed if the Modi mentality doesn't jump at the opportunity to outflank Pakistan. The chance to gain critical control of the supply chain of our approx.70 most advanced jets is too juicy a prospect for Modi to leave on the table. I am certain talks would be happening in the background in this regard. Given the financial muscle which Modi has been flexing recently, I actually wouldn't be surprised if he goes for broke and agrees to the offers by both Gripen and F-16. Why wouldn't he try to acquire monopoly over the supply of two of the world's leading fighter jets? It only gives India that much more power and clout in the world.
     
  7. Mufflerman

    Mufflerman FULL MEMBER

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    Thankfully modi is smarter than u
     
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  8. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought FULL MEMBER

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    Waiting for a smart move by him.
     
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  9. smuhs1

    smuhs1 SENIOR MEMBER

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    To people ignorant of the fact Pakistan has been overhauling its F-16 via TAI for the past 5 years. Ever since TAI was adopted as the company for MLU it has been the providing services to PAF. Many PAF experts are already aware of this fact on PDF. Also an assembly line in india doesnt mean all compnents will be manufactured in India. India will be forever dependant on Americans as they are dependant on Russian for the maintainance of flanker and migs.
     
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  10. ito

    ito SENIOR MEMBER

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    It depends a lot on what India wants from the deal. If it goes with F16s, then it buys US influence, on the other hands Gripen is a newer platform but no significant political advantages of buying it.

    By the way where did this number 400 fighter jets popped up. As far as I know the number will be 200 to 250
     
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  11. saaju

    saaju FULL MEMBER

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    Will it be harmful for PAF if india starts manufacturing F16s? .
     
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  12. Dalit

    Dalit SENIOR MEMBER

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    I agree man. Modi toadie should grab the opportunity with both hands. Hope he is listening.
     
  13. hinduguy

    hinduguy ELITE MEMBER

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    there was a report that the american plant will be closed down and moved to India... that will be bad for pak... but its unlikely to happen... India wont buy it and trump wants to push 'made in america'
     
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  14. saaju

    saaju FULL MEMBER

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    Well ,even if it happen its a long process PAF can go for another platform in that period .
     
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  15. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought FULL MEMBER

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    If I remember correctly from earlier new stories, there was talk of transferring the entire production line not just the assembly line. I may have misread something here, so please correct me if I am wrong. But transferring just the assembly line seems a bit weird. How inconvenient would it be to transport critical technology half way around the world, just to get it assembled in India? And if the pacific ocean route is taken, that makes the supply chain vulnerable to China, whereas the atlantic ocean route makes it vulnerable to Al-Qaeda pirate around the horn of Africa, and Iran (and by association, Russia) in the Arabian sea.
     
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