Buoyed by the Air Force's response to its C-130 J military aircraft, American defence system manufacturer Lockheed Martin is exploring the possibility of selling the transport planes to other Indian armed forces as well.
"In longer term our job is to understand what is the future requirement of Indian Air Force (IAF) and other Indian forces," Lockheed Martin's Vice President for Business Development George Standridge told PTI.
He was replying to questions on Lockheed Martin's future plans for Indian defence market and whether it intends tosell the aircraft to other defence forces also.
Following the ahead-of-schedule-delivery of six C-130J aircraft last year, IAF has now initiated the process to procure six additional planes. Observing that C-130J aircraft is suitable for various military as well as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, he said, "It is a very versatile platform and has a proven record for military as well as non-military missions."
Indicating its growing interest in the Indian market, Lockheed recently entered into a joint venture with Tata to manufacture parts of C-130J aircraft at a newly built facility in Hyderabad. "We intend to stay in the Indian market for long time. We felt the time was right for us to go for a JV and what we do down there (in Hyderabad) is that we build the aft (rear) section of the aircraft. I saw the facility and we are ready to have our first delivery of extended wing-box very shortly," he said.
Commenting on plans to procure six additional aircraft, Standridge said the US Government has responded to India's request with a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, which is the normal practice through which the US government offer defence systems.
"The Indian government has received our Letter of Offer and the discussion between the governments is going on," he said.
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