Lockheed Martin is making news at the Paris Air Show, which kicked off Monday.
The fighter plane manufacturer, which is ramping up production of the F-35 in Fort Worth, announced an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems to build the F-16 jet in India. A year ago, Lockheed said that it would build F-16s in India if it wins a big order for the planes from that country, which wants to grow its defense manufacturing base.
Lockheed has built F-16s in Fort Worth for 40 years, but production has been winding down as attention and resources have shifted to the new F-35 fighter. Lockheed is scheduled to complete its last F-16 in Fort Worth this fall and said in March that it would relocate the F-16 production line from Fort Worth to Greenville, S.C.
Also Monday, CNN and Reuters reported that Lockheed is nearing a deal worth up to $40 billion to build 440 F-35s for the United States and allies over several years. The multi-year deal would more than double the number of planes under contract, Jeff Babione, general manager of the F-35 program for Lockheed, told reporters in Paris.
On Monday, the U.S. Air Force showed off the F-35 in the skies over the air show, with pilots demonstrating the jet’s capabilities in an acrobatic display.
In a meeting with reporters, Brig. Gen. Select Todd Canterbury also discussed recent incidents of oxygen deprivation that caused the Air Force to ground F-35s at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. According to The Associated Press, Canterbury said engineers and other experts are working to indentify the problem, which also caused issues on the F-22 fighter jet.