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US gives green light to biggest arms deal with India

world Updated: Mar 18, 2009 11:38 IST
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The US government has given the go-ahead to the $2.1-billion contract for Boeing Co to supply eight P-8i long-range maritime surveillance planes to India, a media report said.

The US State Department has informed the Congress that it will issue a licence to Boeing so that it can complete the deal with India, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The contract is considered to be the largest US arms sale to India till date.

The department cited "political, military, economic, human rights and arms-control" factors in making this decision.

The deal surpassed the $1 billion deal in 2008 for the supply of six US C-130 transport aircraft to India.

Boeing said it will deliver the first P-8i by end-2012 or early-2013, with delivery of the remaining seven aircraft expected to be completed by 2015.

The deal also include spare parts, training and logistical services.

The P-8i, a derivative of Boeing 737-800, is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad area, maritime and littoral operations.

India is among the first batch of the buyers of the P-8i.

The US military is not yet equipped with the new plane but it plans to buy 108 in the coming years.

The first flight test is scheduled this year and initial operational capability is slated for 2013.