Lockheed Martin to display F-35 joint strike fighter at Aero India 2011 : Defense news

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the latest fighter plane from Lockheed Martin which is designed to become the mainstay of the U.S. as well several allies air force and navy, is likely to be displayed at the Aero India 2011 show in Bangalore.

Lockheed Martin to display F-35 joint strike fighter at Aero India 2011

Lockheed Martin is pitching the aircraft’s B or C versions for India’s potential tender for carrier-based fighters to replace the Sea Harrier and equip the indigenous aircraft carrier currently under construction at the Cochin Shipyard and scheduled to be launched in 2014.

Orville Prins, Lockeed Martin’s Vice President, Business Development for India said in New Delhi that the F-35 is the next generation fighter to suit multiple roles for the U.S. and its allies. Lockheed Martin is seeking U.S. government approvals to offer the aircraft to India. “We are trying to bring the F35 to the Aero India show so that Indian Navy can have a feel of the aircraft.

We don’t know yet if the F35 will take part in the flying displays”.

India had floated a request for information (RFI) earlier this year to seek a carrier based fighter plane.

The RFI will be followed by an RFP as soon as the precise requirements are finalized, which could be in mid-2011. Thereafter the acquisition process will begin.

India has already selected the Russian MiG 29K fighters for the Admiral Gorshkov and the reason for going in for an international competition for the indigenous aircraft carriers was that the Indian Navy was looking to replace the entire Sea Harrier fleet besides have a fighter which was capable of take off and landing on the relatively small deck of the indigenous carriers.

The thinking in the Navy was not in favour of a vertical take off and landing plane like the Sea Harrier but rather a catapult- launched aircraft due to problems with maintenance, high fuel consumption during take off and landing and consequently limited fuel for operational use.