by WorldTribune Staff, December 7, 2016
The Obama administration is moving to have the F-16 produced “exclusively” in India.
While the F-16 has been produced in other countries through joint ventures before, President Barack Obama’s move could mark the first time that an entire assembly line has been moved abroad.
The U.S. is phasing out the F-16 for its own use and embracing newer programs like the F-35.
Obama gave the defense industry the go-ahead on plans to build the classic American fighter jets in India. Both Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been in talks with the Indian government to build the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Super Hornet for the Indian Air Force in India, according to the Washington Post.
The companies intend to move their production facilities to India. Lockheed may relocate its entire F-16 assembly line, moving manufacturing from Fort Worth, Texas to India.
Lockheed insists the deal with India will not result in a loss of U.S. jobs.
“It doesn’t take jobs away from the U.S., it extends existing jobs, and not just for Fort Worth but for many other companies around the U.S. that build parts for the F-16,” Randy Howard, the director of business development for Lockheed’s integrated fighter group, told the Washington Post.
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on Dec. 4: “The U.S. is going to substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, but any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!”
In addition to manufacturing and exporting the F-16, India will also be involved in supporting thousands of fighter jets operating worldwide.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will head to India this week, where the deal will likely be discussed further.