"We are ready to manufacture F-16 in India and support the Make in India initiative," Phil Shaw, chief executive of Lockheed Martin India Private Ltd told reporters at the Singapore Airshow 2016.

But the American corporation's executive did not commit any time-frame to have the plant operational, saying the group supports the ongoing government-to-government talks.

Shaw expressed strong interest in having the F-16 made in India 'soon' without elaborating on the time-frame, linking it to the progress of the government-to-government talks.

Currently, Lockheed Martin manufactures one jet a month from its plant in the US and has a series of contracts and joint ventures in India with over 1,000 employees.

It has supplied six C130J Super Hercules planes to India in 2011 and will be delivering another six helicopters next year.

Industry observers said Lockheed Martin's "wish to manufacture F-16 is based on the strong demand from the Indian armed forces and would want to lower the cost of the planes for exports by using the low-cost capability in India".

"Both the US government and Lockheed Martin see the advantage of placing a manufacturing base in India and make F-16 affordable for emerging markets," the source said.

The making of F-16, which will be among the largest projects under the Make in India initiative, will be conditional to the Indian government making contractual commitment to buy the fighter jets for its armed forces, said the source.

Lockheed Martin has already decided on India as its best option for low-cost and highly qualified engineering workforce, and the final go on this is dependent on approval from New Delhi and Washington.

Latest News  from Business News Desk