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Lockheed Eyes $15 Billion in Aircraft Exports to India over the Next Five Years

Lockheed is aiming for deals with India worth $15 billion in the next five years and is focusing on winning contracts for fighter aircraft, military transport aircraft, naval helicopters and missiles, and is speeding up delivery of six C-130J military planes for delivery to India and is negotiating for sale of six more in a deal potentially worth $1.1 billion, a senior official said. Lockheed is also gearing up for field trials in August to win a $10.4 billion contract to supply 126 F-16 fighter aircraft to India.

Last year, Lockheed sold six C-130J military transport planes for about $1.1 billion, India’s largest-ever arms deal with the United States.

Jack Giese, a senior manager at Lockheed, told Reuters “We will start delivering the planes from the first quarter of 2011 and work is speeding at the moment to meet deadlines. The current agreement with the Indian Air Force for six C-130J aircraft has an option for another six and we are holding talks at the moment.”

A defence pact agreed with the U.S. last week allowing U.S. inspectors to check all defense equipment sold to India periodically, has paved the way for companies like Lockheed to eye the growing Indian defence market, a market expected to spend over $30 billion a year over the next five years to upgrade its largely Soviet-era arsenal to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.

Giese told Reuters, “It is a landmark agreement and Lockheed is looking forward to a long-term partnership with India.”

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