by Monica Jackson

Lockheed Martin will equip its F-16 aircraft with modern technologies similar to those fitted on F-35 planes as part of the firm’s bid for the $15 billion fighter jet order of the Indian Air Force, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The Md.-based company has also offered to move its F-16 production line to India to compete with SAAB and Boeing.

Vivek Lall, vice president for strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin, stated that the firm will possibly be able to distribute more than 200 F-16s worldwide if India selects the aircraft.

“We already see a global rise in the demand for F-16 from the 25 air forces around the world that already fly them,” he said, “Their export potential for the F-16s could be met through the exclusive production line we propose to put up in India.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking modern fighter jets to face adversaries such as Pakistan and China, with Russia no longer planning to produce MiG jets, which is what India currently uses.

India’s jet order also falls under a plan to enhance South Asia’s defence forces, which Modi aims to contribute to under his Make in India initiative.