A breaking report from Reuters indicates that Lockheed Martin is offshoring part of its F-16 combat jet production from the US to India. This completely goes against President Trump's 'America First' policy.
It's unclear how much of the F-16 production plant in Greenville, South Carolina, will be transferred to India, nevertheless, how many jobs will be lost, in Lockheed Martin's apparent betrayal of "Making America Great Again."
A senior executive told Reuters on Thursday that F-16 wing production will begin in 2020 at a facility in southern India.
Lockheed sold out American workers and the great people of South Carolina so that it could win a contract, worth more than $15 billion to supply the Indian Air Force with 114 combat planes. To sweeten the deal, Lockheed offered to shift production to India, which would only enrich shareholders.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make-in-India" program -- is the attempt to diversify its manufacturing sector away from automobiles to bolster its aerospace and defense sectors.
Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the wing production of the F-16 would allow the company to sell the fighter jets worldwide. Lockheed entered into a joint venture with India's Tata Advanced Systems in the southern city of Hyderabad to make the wings.
"The first wing prototype is being built now. The expectation is we will begin supplying by next year sometime, this will be the sole facility for future F-16 wing production," Lall told Reuters.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is entering a period of significant modernization, that means hundreds of MiG fighters will be replaced with new aircraft, likely the F-16 in the next decade.
Modi has insisted that if Lockheed wants to supply planes to the IAF, production would have to be moved to India.
Lall told Reuters that the Lockheed C-130J four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft is already being produced at the Hyderabad facility.
"We have been doing make-in-India for years now," he said, adding that, "It is a huge potential business, India will be plugging into the world's largest fighter jet ecosystem."
As for the F-16 plant in South Carolina, there's no word yet on what will be shut down and or how many people will be laid off.
Lockheed has chosen, in terms of the F-16 jet, to "Make India Great Again," over "Make America Great Again."
President Trump needs to have a stern talk with management.