HT exclusive: India to get US military tech in 3 key areas

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 10, 2015 01:59 IST

India and the US have agreed to jointly develop and produce cutting-edge military equipment to enhance the reach and muscle of the Indian military.

The Pentagon has agreed to share with New Delhi the electro-magnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), hot engine and extended battery man pack technologies under the defence trade and technology initiative, government sources said Monday.

The world’s biggest importer of weapons, India is looking to promote its domestic arms industry and sharing of technology is a vital part of it.

The deal will be inked when US under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall arrives in the Capital on February 24. He was in India in January as well to give final touches to defence issues ahead of US President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit.

Currently being developed by General Atomics, EMALS technology will replace the steam catapults used to launch jets from aircraft carriers. The technology was offered by Obama to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Washington trip in September.

EMALS will not only allow more sorties and reduce the thermal signature of an aircraft carrier but will also provide launch capability for unmanned aerial vehicles, sources said. The system is low on maintenance and energy consumption. India’s two aircraft carriers — INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya — use steam catapults.

General Electric’s hot-engine technology permits fighter jets to operate in hot weather conditions without any possibility of an engine failure. This next generation technology is needed in the hot and dry climate of Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as parts of Haryana and Punjab.

Extended battery packs increase the survivability of ground troops and enhances their effectiveness as platoons remain in touch with commanders for extended periods of time without fear of batteries running out. The battery pack has been developed by General Dynamics, an American aerospace and defence company.

Boosting defence production through foreign investors and technology is part of Modi’s ambitious Make in India initiative.

India, which buys 65% of its weapons from abroad, is expected to spend an estimated $250 billion in the next decade to modernise its military. The US has edged out Russia and Israel to emerge as India’s biggest arms supplier in the last three years — 2011-14.

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