The F-21 looks like the F-16 but supports new equipment and technology from F-22 and F-35, say Lockheed Martin.

The F-21, say Lockheed, addresses the Indian Air Force’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company.

Lockheed Martin and Tata would produce the F-21 in India. According to a statement from Lockheed Martin:

“The F-21 is an unprecedented ‘Make in India’ opportunity ─ combining the strength of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defence contractor, and Tata, India’s premier industrial house, to deliver a historic win-win for the US and India. We hope to strengthen and grow our relationship with India as part of an unprecedented F-21 fighter aircraft partnership for India, from India.

The F-21 provides unmatched opportunities for Indian companies of all sizes, including Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and suppliers throughout India, to establish new business relationships with Lockheed Martin and other industry leaders in the US and around the globe. In addition to creating thousands of new jobs for Indian industry, F-21 production in India supports thousands of US supplier jobs, including hundreds of US-based Lockheed Martin engineering, program management, sustainment and customer support positions.”

The F-21 is fitted with a Ground Collision Avoidance System, a retractable flight refueling boom, a SNIPER targeting pod, and an Active Electronically Scanned Array AN/APG-83 radar provided by Northrop-Grumman, derived from the two radars that already equip the F-22 and the F-35.

The F-21, therefore, is essentially an F-16V adapted to the specific needs of the Indian Air Force and with local manufacturing to boot.

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Steve Salt

Looks like they could have done with this aircraft yesterday.


Unlikely I would think, US has too much of a record of interference, anyway reading the Indian press; why do they need it? The “famously balanced ” Indian press say they shot down 2+ PAF F16’s with just one single Mig21bis. Truth is always the first casualty.

captain P Wash.

One of them may have been a J17, according to other news.


Isn’t a J17 just an updated Mig 21. Just like the f21 is an f16.

Steve Salt

I think you mean the Chengdu F7, thats`s the Chinese built version of the MiG21.
The J17 Thunder is a different design it looks a bit like a fat Mirage F1.


The Indian press is a joke when it comes to reporting on military matters. Reminds me of the time when the Indian air force came over to do an exercise with the RAF and the moment they got back the headline news across the country was how they ‘beat’ the British despite no exercise of that type ever taking place.

Praveen Sharma

Indian press never claimed that they shot two F-16. The official statement and the media report always mentioned that one PAF F-16 was shot by Mig-21 Bison. F-16 was shot by the same pilot whose plane was moments later shot by another F-16 and he landed in Pakistan. There is a video and as well audio record of two planes going down in Pakistan controlled region, one F-16 and one twin seater F-16. On the other hand, Pakistani official military twitter handle, initially claimed that they captured two Indian pilots, later revising it to one. There is a very strong… Read more »


Rubbing salt into the wounds that India is still using mig 21 to perform ground strikes. Their decision to select Rafale is biting them big time.

Geoffrey Hicking

Excellent news!

Now if we can increase cooperation with a Commonwealth partner of India’s size, then we’ll be doing well post-Brexit!

Peter french

Sorry Geoffrey
I dont get it ,

what this news got to do with Post Brexit . Weve been trying to get India to buy the Typhoon but no deal. The French got interim business selling the Raphael at Knockdown prices , No chance of us getting any business.commonwealth or no Commonwealth

Peter French


Oh bugger may as well just give up then.

Geoffrey Hicking

If India buys sophisticated U.S equipment (or manufactures it), then there is a chance that, if we try again with something else some time later, we will also succeed. Just a bit of hope.

I had a personal reason for writing the comment above. I’m feeling a bit glum from having to accept that there was no way we could have cooexisted peacefully with Indian princes and let them improve their societies on their own in the 18th and 19th centuries, so I wanted to find something to cheer myself up with, and this was it.

Geoffrey Roach

I know how you feel. I was worrying about the Picts and Scots the other day and how we were going to maintain that bloody great wall that Hadrian Trumptes built so I said to my centurion…..

Geoffrey Hicking

There’s nothing wrong with applying a little emotion to the past. It was a moment and then i got over it.


Have a watch of Lucy Worsley’s documentary on the Raj from Monday.

Geoffrey Hicking

Is it a BBC hackjob? I hope not.


Lucy is always worth watching IMO!!!


I was reading about the nomenclature of the F21 and its all down to the emotive state of the Indians who simply cannot be seen to be operating the same plane as their rivals across the border in Pakistan. So the 16 becomes the 21.

A lot like this Twix advert

Steve Salt

What a superb analogy re the Twix ad.
Fine effort Sir.

John Clark

Spot on Farouk, I am sure the proposed F16 derivative is
a fine aircraft, but the F21 designation is purely down to the marketing men.

It only a matter of time before we see two of Lockheeds products slugging it out….

That said, it takes an incredibly brave man to to into combat in a Mig 21 against F16 and F17 opposition.

It’s a one way suicide mission.


It is very difficult politically speaking for the Indian government to agree any large procurements from the UK. There are still many that view us as the enemy due to empire and colonization. We would have to go on a major charm offensive and allow significant migration to the UK for minds to be altered. I’m not saying don’t try, just that it will be hard.

Steve Salt

This very true Rob, but I also know several Indian business contacts who openly agree that the basis for India`s success is rooted in the legacy of the Empire through the `British` systems of education, law etc.
In fact one frequently says ” My father does not agree but everything India is and will become is partly down to the British”. I`m not saying this a universal belief but the younger generations are more conciliatory than perhaps the older one`s.

captain P Wash.

Steve, They model their armed forces on ours too.

I haven’t met all the Indians yet but those I have, have been very nice and Friendly. They even share our sense of Humour and Food Preferences.

Steve Salt

Yes Captain, as do Pakistan, the uniforms are almost identical as are the rank idents and the flying badges and brevets.
Swap the lions on the Indian crest for an Islamic star and face the eagle in the opposite direction and that`s about it.


“I haven’t met all the Indians yet …”

Are you talking about 1st, 2nd, 3rd or later generation British Indians? Or, have you travelled to India and met Indians there? Very different kettles of fish there.

I ask because I speak from experience. I am of South Asian descent but I was born and grew up in South East Asia. I once met someone from my mother country and the person looked at me like I was a foreigner. Experiences, cultures and mind-sets are different if one grew up in a country other than their motherland.

Geoffrey Hicking

Whisper it, but even the Indians that aren’t 100% pro-empire can be quite pro-Britain when they want to be.

Some are in the middle, and they still have the time of day for us. That, quite frankly, is fantastic.

captain P Wash.

Rob, They Seem to Accept our Financial Contributions without too much Trouble.

captain P Wash.

Personally, I think we should be Embracing India Again. At Least They have a Positive opinion of the UK (Mostly) unlike our so called Friends In Europe ( Fat Cats and Power hungry Career Politicians at least ). Don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to Brussels but much prefer a Chicken Phall.

Anyone who thinks we are Welcome In Europe and that They are our Friends, just has to be Blind to their Blatant Arrogance and Belligerence towards us.

It’s all coming out In the Wash now, Isn’t It ?

Geoffrey Hicking

Indeed it is, but its about time we knew who our real friends were. 🙂 (hint: not Brussels)

Geoffrey Hicking

I’ve seen some Brits offer apologies for various things, which are accepted. In turn, the Indians have offered their gratitude for our achievements in India, which are also accepted. I know the former will go down like a cold sick here*, but the fact that BOTH exchanges can take place between the same parties in a mild manner suggests hope for the future. The key is to see if India can get out the Russian orbit. I have faith that will happen. The Indian Navy clearly sees itself as the successor to the Rn in the region, so there is… Read more »

captain P Wash.

“We” should not apologize for anything mate. It was our Ancestors and the Rich and Powerful ones at that , who gave pain around the World. Most of us “Ordinary Folk” only wanted to help. Still do mostly.
Where there’s Money, There’s Greed and Pain.

Just look at London Zoo (Parliament) at the moment. Snouts In Troughs and all that.

Geoffrey Hicking

Indeed. Its a bit telling that the supposed “patriots” in parliament want to hobble us and chain us to the EU.

captain P Wash.

Geoffrey, The way I see It is, Unless you are born into Money In this Country, You are going to have a bloody tough job getting out of the Gutter. Money Makes Money. Education Is one way out but not everybody has access to the best of that either. As a Nation of once Shopkeepers, we have been done over by Huge Corporations and Obscenely rich money Men. Just take a look at the average High Street, Full of Empty Shops and those that are Occupied are Charity Shops and Coffee Outlets. Not sure If either pay Taxes but I’m… Read more »


I don’t think that is quite the case, we sold Hermes, refitted her in UK, sold Sea Harriers and 11 Sea Kings as part of the package. The Indian government were most hospitable so much so they made an offer for Illustrious during the mid ninties, obviously turned down at the time. I think the Indians are hard negotiators and set high demands on equipment procurement, hence they shop around often crossing western and eastern politics. I don’t think there is any post colonial resentment.

Pradeep Choudhary

Yes, it’s not about colonial resentment, it’s about much later, who supported Pakistan, and if we’re getting the deal on our terms or not. Both the US and UK supported Pakistan in 1971, so nobody here sees Uk as a friend, who will come to help us in times of need. Which they never did anyway, since they were against us. So the UK isn’t really seen as a great friend, neither is the US. Russia and Israel, on the other hand, are two nations Indians would call their friends, who helped them, and that’s why for the most part,… Read more »

captain P Wash.

From Memory, the Typhoon offering for the Indian Airforce was not handled by the UK. Not sure what difference It would have made though as Selling any Weapons to India seems to be Very Hard Work.


Each partner in the Typhoon programme handles sales for a specific region in the world.
EADS handles India, Latin America and South Korea.
BAE handles the Middle East.

captain P Wash.

Thanks Sean, That’s What I thought.

Paul T
Sid morley

Shit fighting shit – two nations thinking they are bigger than they are, worked with nations in the Middle East , not in AirPower but army both badly equipped, both badly trained, both not motivated, both can not work or maintain hi tech weapons.

Barry Larking

Great Britain did not dominate India, but created it. Huge areas were administered by young Brits armed with fountain pens. The U.K. cannot arm either India nor Pakistan even if we wished us too. They attack only each other. Pakistan’s government does not rule and India’s does but with the equivalent of the National Front.

Alan Reid

Yes, Barry – a sense of Indian “national consciousness” was largely formed by the Congress Party as a means to kick-out the Scots and the English.


Personally I would have thought that the best option for India would be to operate the Gripen. Fraction of the price of a Typhoon but superior to anything in Pakistan’s arsenal

Alan Reid

Hi Alex, Aviation journalist John Lake recently reported UK Typhoon operating costs are substantially reduced through the TyTAN programme with BAE – and indeed are less than the F-16.
With operations in “hot n’ high” environments, I would argue the powerful Typhoon may be a much better choice for the Indian Air Force than the Gripen (or the infernal Rafale!)


Historically India was a big purchaser of UK kit (Vampires, Canberras, Hunters, Jaguars, Sea Harriers and plenty of knackered ex-RN vessels), but that all dried up when we stopped making anything decent. The fact we sold Jaguars to India but not Tornado is interesting, does anyone know if it was ever even offered?
The Rafale purchase is tied in with the maritime requirement, surely?


JF17 Thunder shot down one of India’s SU-30 as well (apart from sitting duck MIG-21), yea the supermanoeuvrable twin-engine SU-30. Indian Airforce need to improvise their training and skill base……

Would be interesting to see JF17 in a dogfight with F-16.

Pradeep Choudhary

And when did that happen, perhaps you could link some source? Su – 30 didn’t went into any war yet..