Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) have asked the White House to approve two agreements that aim to support the production of Lockheed Martin-built F-16 fighter aircraft in India and export of a General Atomics-made remotely piloted aircraft to the country, Defense News reported Monday.
Joe Gould writes Cornyn and Warner said in a Thursday letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the co-production of F-16 planes in India will help sustain a fleet more than 1,000 fighter jets in the U.S. Air Force and retain approximately 800 engineering and design jobs in the U.S.
The lawmakers noted that the potential F-16 transaction would help the U.S. advance its security partnership with India, build up interoperability, increase India’s capacity to fight threats and help the country “balance China’s growing military capability in the Pacific.”
Warner and Cornyn, co-chairs of the U.S. Senate India Caucus, also called on Tillerson and Mattis in a separate letter to support the sale of Guardian aerial drones to India in a deal that could be worth more than $2 billion, Gould reported.
The senators noted that the potential Guardian deal would help facilitate intelligence sharing and joint operations between the U.S. and India.