US offers big arms contract, tech to India

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2014 15:12 IST

On the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, the Pentagon has offered to jointly develop or manufacture 34 state-of-the-art weapon systems and technologies with India including the Javelin anti-tank missile and the Scorpion mutation bomb.

The deal for the Javelin, an infra-red guided missile with a range of nearly 5km that has been used in Afghanistan and Iraq, will include full transfer of technology. It features software that allows the missile to seek, track and destroy tanks. Earlier, India had been considering the purchase of Javelins worth $4billion.

According to the South Block officials, Bharat Dynamics Limited will be involved in the co-production of the Javelin and will also co-develop the next generation of the missile. The offer to build and develop the missile jointly was first made by President Barack Obama to Modi in a letter in July.

The Americans have also offered co-production of Textron-manufactured micro-observers or unattended ground sensors for deployment on the border, and co-development of the Scorpion, a bomb that has in-built sensors that allow command centres to accurately target enemy convoys.

Another weapon that has been offered for co-production is the 120mm canon gun made by ATK.

It is also understood that after a long delay, India is all set to acquire 24 Apache Longbow attack helicopters and 16 Chinook heavy lift helicopters under the foreign military sales route that involves government-to-government sale.

Indian and US diplomatic sources said that the Pentagon offers came during the September 22-25 meeting in Washington between a four-member Indian team led by defence production secretary G Mohan Kumar and US under secretary for acquisition and technologies Frank Kendall.

Modi will renew the 10-year-old bilateral defence framework for five more years during his visit and defence minister Arun Jaitley is expected to meet his US counterpart Chuck Hagel on October 8 after the IMF-World Bank meetings on the previous two days. The meeting between Jaitley and Hagel is expected to be attended by Gen Martin Dempsey, Chairman, joint chiefs of staff committee and commerce secretary Penny Priztker.

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