US govt clears sale of $1.9 billion air defence weapon system to India
The government-to-government sale cleared by the US State Department was announced by a US defence department agency after a notification was issued to the US Congress.Updated: Feb 10, 2020 23:55 IST
The United States on Monday announced clearing the sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) to India at an estimated cost of $1.87 billion to boost defence ties between the two countries, a development that came just days ahead of an expected India visit by US President Donald Trump.
The government-to-government sale cleared by the US State Department was announced by a US defence department agency after a notification was issued to the US Congress.
The IADWS, which was sought by India, comprised five AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems; 118 AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles; three AMRAAM Guidance Sections; four AMRAAM Control Sections; and 134 Stinger FIM-92L missiles.
Also included are a host of related equipment and services, such as US government and contractor technical support; engineering and logistics support services; warranty services; Systems and Integration Checkout (SICO); field office support; and other related elements of logistics and programme support.
The development comes after India’s first chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat recently asked top officials of HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to prepare a proposal to create an Air Defence command to enhance military synergy and optimally utilise the resources of the armed forces. Rawat has set a June 30 deadline for the proposal to be submitted.
India has stepped up defence purchases from the US in recent years as part of a growing defence relationship that includes greater interoperability and joint exercises. From nil in 2008, India-US defence trade has gone up to $17 billion, facilitated by the signing of key foundational agreements to enhance interoperability and changes in the US export regime.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.
The agency said India planned to use the system to “modernise its armed forces, and to expand its existing air defence architecture to counter threats posed by air attack”.
It added that the proposed system will, on delivery, will be “further enhancing greater interoperability between India, the US, and other allies”.
The system, with Raytheon Corporation and Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace as principal contractors, will not “alter the basic military balance in the region”.
India and the US are expected to announce more defence deals during Trump’s proposed visit later this month, to the tune of $3 billion and could include more Apache helicopters and P8 maritime surveillance aircraft, according to people familiar with the discussions.
A Reuters report released on Monday said India was set to give final approval to a $2.6-billion deal for military helicopters from US defence firm Lockheed Martin ahead of Trump’s proposed visit.