Washington mulls boosting F-16 production for Ukraine - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

Lockheed Martin said it would transfer the F-16 production line from the United States to India, if it wins the IAF tender to supply more than a hundred F-16s to India.

By Vikas Gupta

Defence News of India, 27 January 23

After controversially deciding to send M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine to bolster its beleaguered army, the United States is considering increasing production of F-16 fighters to be sent to Ukraine, according to a Financial Times report (FT).

A report in the FT on Thursday quotes Frank St John, chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin, which builds the F-16, as saying there has been “a lot of talk about F-16 transfers to third parties,” which implies that the countries would re-export the American planes they have to Ukraine, in order to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend its airspace against Russian fighters.

St John said Lockheed Martin would “scale up F-16 production in Greenville, South Carolina to get to the point where we can fill pretty efficiently any countries that choose to do third-party transfers to help with the flow.” conflict.”

So far, the United States has rejected calls from Kyiv for high-tech fighters on the grounds that they could be used to strike targets on Russian territory, escalating the conflict.

Any country transferring F-16s to Ukraine, including close political allies of the United States, would first need to obtain clearance from the US administration.

Interestingly, Lockheed Martin separately announced its intention to transfer the F-16 production line from the United States to India, if declared the winner of the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender. ) to supply over a hundred F-16s to India.

European allies of the United States, such as Warsaw, offered at the start of the war to send their Soviet-era MiG-29 fighters to Kyiv, on the condition that the United States replenish the army of the army. air force with the latest F-16 fighters.

There are eight European nations that fly the F-16, and they would welcome the opportunity to swap them out for more advanced variants of the fighter.

Lockheed Martin’s weaponry played an important role in Kyiv’s success in keeping the Russian army at bay. Lockheed Martin’s weapon systems used in Ukraine include the High Mobility Rocket System (HIMARS), Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.