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April 27, 2011

Reports say India has dropped F-16, F/A-18 from fighter jet competition


UPDATE: Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank and a consultant to Lockheed Martin says he has been told by company officials that both the F/A-18 and F-16 have been dropped from consideration by India. 

And here's Lockheed's not very informative but perhaps telling statement: "The US Government has informed Lockheed Martin that they have received a letter from the Indian MOD concerning the MMRCA competition. We understand that the US Government is working on a response to the letter from the Indian government. Lockheed Martin remains committed to our relationship with the Indian Air Force, Ministry of Defense and the other Services.  Lockheed Martin has several world-class products offering the most advanced and reliable technology we believe is suitable for India's security needs."

Reports out of India today indicate that country's government has narrowed down the list of planes it is considering buying as the next next front line fighter jet and that both Lockheed Martin's F-16 and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet have been eliminated from the competition.

If that is the case it could mean the days of the F-16 being produced in Fort Worth are nearing an end. Company officials said in their conference call Tuesday they only have orders booked to carry production through mid-2013.

The very good DewLine blog has more here. About the only thing official on the subject at this point is that Sweden's Saab has confirmed that it has been eliminated. But one blog reports it has confirmed that India has asked two bidders, France's Dassault and the European Eurofighter consortium to extend the terms of their bids.

Lockheed has not yet commented to the Star-Telegram. A Boeing spokesman said he had not heard anything official from his corporate ranks.

But Washington defense analyst Loren Thompson, who has many good sources in the world of defense contractors, said he has heard similar but unofficial reports.

"My understanding is the F-16 and F/A-18 have both been disqualified by India," Thompson said. "It may just be a negotiating tactic. They've (India) done stuff like this before."

India has for years been tantalizing fighter jet manufacturers with its plans to spend something on the order of $10 billion to buy 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft.

- Bob Cox




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That's cool - let 'em go buy some of the French junk that automatically surrenders.

They're easier for us to shoot down, anyway.

Henry Merbler

It sure looks like the India government is playing games. The F-16 is the BEST fighter available NOW ! The F-35 and other state of the art jewels are YEARS away and they know it !!


Don't worry about F-16 production. You can give away a few more F-16 for free to your most important ally and friend Pakistan. Did you really think the Indians would have bought an aircraft which is their enemy's main fighter (and which you gave them for free)?.

Satish Chandra

A few months ago I wrote:
"Stealth or no-stealth, 5th generation or 4th generation, fighter aircraft are as obsolete for India's defence as bows and arrows. They can be used against neighbors such as Pakistan and China but the United States is EVERYBODY'S neighbor. It has already invaded and occupied Afghanistan, a part of traditional India and will expand its occupation to the rest of the subcontinent. I am India's expert in strategic defence and the father of India's strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan means the coast-to-coast destruction of the U.S. by India; see my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy for India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, for what India needs to do. Russia and other white countries are U.S. allies. These are the enemies to destroy. All other enemies will be taken care of automatically. Conventional arms are worthless for destroying the United States. Nuclear arms to destroy the United States with a FIRST STRIKE -- this is the key -- are cheap and easy to produce with technology India already has. All the money earmarked for fighter aircraft etc., and more, must be pumped into research, development and production of missiles able to deliver India's nuclear warheads -- in the thousands -- to the continental United States. India's missile scientists & engineers should have tested such missiles to their full range decades ago -- everything else, including short and intermediate range missiles and missile defence, is secondary and tertiary -- but have not done that because of prohibitions by India's C.I.A.-controlled governments. This must be done on a war footing; the first step is to destroy RAW through which the C.I.A. rules India; see 'What You Should Know About RAW' in my blog above. Producing such weapons in the thousands and very quickly is important. This means that the vast majority of them must be land-based, including road and rail-mobile, missiles rather than submarine-based which take a long time to produce."

Having prepositioned five to six nuclear weapons in various cities/countries such as New Delhi, Washington and New York (see my blog above), there is no reason to delay any further; let the testing of high yield thermonuclear weapon designs to their full yields and of missiles able to carry them to the continental United States to their full ranges begin.

Satish Chandra


To Henry Merbler,

If the F-16 is indeed the best fighter available now, why is the USAF no longer buying it?? It wasn't even shortlisted by the Brazilians. The F-16 is a damn good aircraft, but it's on its last legs. Even Lockheed Martin knows that; their sales pitch to India was that the F-16 was a pathway to acquire the F-35. That tells you about their confidence in a product when you have to point to a follow-on system. The Indian MMRCA is expected to serve up to 30-40 years in service and reach numbers of 200 or more. The F-16/Mig-35 type fighters wouldn't cut it if they were to take on China's J-11 and J-10 fighters. Period.

To FrankZ1,

About French stuff surrendering, may be you need to tell it to the Israelis who won the 1967 war almost solely using French warplanes.



The US really did not help their own cause - they expected to win one of the biggest military contracts in recent history by offering two end of line platform aircrafts & one of which is sold & well known by the USA to an enemy of India & then, on top of that, the USA had the audacity to place very limiting tech transfer & limited tech options to the deal when the competitors were doing the opposite!

It's like saying, we have treated you like shit for the last 60 years but now you have some money, we want it & because we are the biggest & baddest boys in town, buy our end of line equipment but on the condition that we only provide partial tech, will not share tech, only share what we want, limit your options for upgrades, weapons, software & operating ability plus we will control your future ability to use any of our shiny toys in future.

Was the USA totally delusional in adopting this stance? If the USA treated this tender with the respect it deserved & not so limiting in it's stance, India would have definitely gone with the USA - it was the USA's own stance that effectively forced India to look elsewhere - USA has no one to blame but themselves - they destroyed this deal - not India.

USA has still got a astronomical $4BN-$5BN Deal for US Tanker & Heavy Lift Aircraft from India so that shows how valuable & important India is as a customer & ally to the USA - that will provide plenty of jobs in the USA for some time so Americans should be thankful to India for that instead of bitching & moaning like some are.

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