Trump win may spell curtains for F-16 deal with India

06 December 2016

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin offered to shift manufacturing of F-16 fighter jets from Fort Worth in Texas to India if it wins a big contract to build hundreds of planes for the country.

Now some are wondering whether the Trump administration will allow such a deal to proceed.

''What will be the US policy posture now that the new president-elect is in the mix?'' one high-level official at an American defence firm in India told The Washington Post, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''Is he going to continue the policy of engaging in India on co-production and co-development? All of those are unknown at this point.''

President-elect Trump is threatening to penalise companies that shift manufacturing operations overseas. He made his point again last week after travelling to Indiana to announce a deal with Carrier to keep about 1,000 jobs in Indiana that were headed to Mexico in exchange for millions in state tax breaks.

The Post reports that India wants to co-produce fighter jets as part of an initiative to expand its manufacturing base. Lockheed is seen as competing with Sweden's Gripen fighter and Boeing's F/A-18 for the Indian contract. The actual process of selecting a jet hasn't started yet.

Lockheed has been winding down F-16 production in Fort Worth for several years as resources have shifted to the growing F-35 programme. Still, workers are concerned.

''Wouldn't you be?'' Earnest Boone, president of the District Lodge 776 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, told The Post.

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