Lockheed Martin is all set to submit a "very responsive package" in response to an Indian Air Force (IAF) request for proposal (RFP) for 126 medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). John Larson, company vice-president, F-16 programme, told media at the Singapore Airshow 2008 that the US government was ''reviewing the proposals right now."
Contenders for the MMRCA tender, the RSK MiG -35, Saab's Gripen JAS-39, Dassault's Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet will submit their responses to the RFP by early March.
Without revealing details, Larson did confirm a few facts about Lockheed's proposal, saying that the company had already opted for an engine that would power the Block 60 F-16 likely to be offered to the IAF, making a choice between the General Electric and Pratt & Whitney versions.
According to Larson, the engine would draw on technologies developed for advanced Block 50 and Block 60-series F-16s. He also made it a point to mention that Lockheed also "has every intention" of answering New Delhi's call for the selected type to carry an active electronically scanned array radar.
Talking about the F-16 fighter programme, Larson also said that Lockheed's current order backlog for 107 F-16s would see the type remain in production at least until 2012. However, he mentioned that there were ''a number of government-to-government discussions with follow-on and new customers," which, if successful, could extend the production schedule.
The bidding companies are also bound to submit offset proposals by June, which will ensure that at least 50 per cent of the $10 billion project would get manufactured locally.