Boeing vs Lockheed Martin : The Billion Dollar Indian Dogfight

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It’s been even-stevens for Boeing and Lockheed Martin, two giants of the American Military-Industrial Complex. While Lockheed suffered a major embarrassment when Indian pilot Abhinandan Vartaman took down the advanced F-16 with the ancient Mig-52 Bison, Boeing is facing a huge loss of orders of its 737 Max series. When the bottom lines need help and both giants know that the Indian Air force multi billion dollar order is long overdue, the potential silver lining makes them do interesting things.

In one of our earlier posts we had stated that the taps would open for the world’s largest democracy and they have not disappointed! Lockheed Martin has offered to shift its entire F-16 production line from USA to India in what could be a huge boost for PM Modi’s Make In India. This offer would make the sole global production centre of F-16 and would serve India as well as Lockheed’s overseas markets. Indian Air force is talking about purchases of 114 planes and Lockheed estimates overseas orders to be in excess of 200 planes.

Boeing has come out with its own offer with its complete 21st century ecosystem for co-developing F/A-18 Super Hornets. Similar to Lockheed Martin, this offer would bring the entire production line to India to make fighters for India in India while the line to supply to USA and other overseas buyers would remain in USA with all future upgrades to also be co-developed in India. This would mean greater indigenous capability and lower costs for India in the times to come. Boeing’s offer will boost the needs of the Indian Air Force and Navy.

Considering that US President Trump is going about town forcing companies to manufacture in America this turn of events is undoubtedly music to the ears for the world’s largest democracy. Considering the revolving door relationship the US MIC enjoys with the government, the idea of setting up a line of production in India in China’s backyard has a beautiful irony. For India that has historically been a Soviet ally, this would mean another paradigm shift. With Cold War 2.0 on the horizon, this could definitely be the start of a beautiful friendship!

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