Critical Gap-Fillers

Lockheed Martin packs in a comprehensive portfolio for India

Aditya Kakkar

Lockheed Martin packs in a comprehensive portfolio for IndiaChennai: Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R ASW helicopter fills a critical capability gap for the Indian Navy and can be acquired quickly in a government to government deal. Saying this, vice president, Asia-Pacific, sales and marketing, Christophe A. Nurit added that, “We can add significant value and provide the most expeditious platform for the government of India. We have the MH-60R which is the poster child of the US Navy ASW. This is a product which has been delivered not just to the US Navy but also to the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, and Royal Saudi Navy. Every time a product is delivered, it is on time and on cost and all the expectations of our clients have been met or exceeded. We’ve been in discussion with the government of India for many years. The MH-60R does not have a ‘Strategic Partner’ since this is a program trying to fix the critical capabilities.”

He concluded, “We are very optimistic about the MH-60R programme in India. We understand that defence procurements take a long time and delay is a function of that. Although because of delays, escalation comes in, sometimes even obsolescence, so we have to continue updating the products.”

The company is also showing F-16 Block 70 Cockpit Demonstrator for the first time in India. According to the Lockheed spokesperson, the F-16 Block 70, the most advanced F-16 available today, features a number of innovative technologies found on 5th generation fighters and is considered to be the optimum solution for India’s fighter programme, with proven capabilities and performance and an industrial scale that sets the standard for ‘Make in India’, putting India at the helm of the world’s largest aerospace ecosystem.

Another focus area for Lockheed Martin at DefExpo is Javelin, a combat-proven fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile which will remain in the US inventory until 2050 and is currently undergoing spiral upgrades to reduce weight and cost, as well as improve performance. The system has a steep learning curve but is intuitive to use with first-time gunners hitting their targets more than 97 per cent of the time. This writer had a chance to use the simulator and managed a 97 per cent target hit. As per the company, training and qualification can be performed by simulation, and does not require firing live rounds.

“You can pop it on on a vehicle for greater flexibility. It’s interchangeable. You can integrate it with the electro-optical sensor system so you do identification till four kilometres. It’s a really basic plug and play system with the electronics package. The US government tests it for you and it will continuously evolve,” said the Lockheed Martin representative for the Javelin programme.

Lockheed Martin and the Javelin Joint Venture (Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) are also fully prepared to offer support, through the highly transparent US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, and any request for support, tech transfer and co-production of Javelin in line with the DTTI programme previously offered. The US government has indicated they are willing to work with the government of India to expedite the delivery process to support India’s urgent ATGM requirements.