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.