US ayes sale of Apache choppers, missiles to India
Along with AH-64 Apache - multi-role combat helicopters the contract also includes fire control radars; Hellfire Longbow missiles; Stinger Block I-92H missiles; night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems
THE Trump administration has approved a deal to sell six AH64E Apache attack helicopters to India for USD 930 million as well as Hellfire and Stinger missiles to bolster the country’s ability to defend its homeland and deter “regional threats”, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
The Pentagon’s notification to the Congress comes ahead of the first 2+2 dialogue between India and the US next month in Washington DC involving the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and James Mattis.
Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress about the State department’s decision. The sale is expected to pass through if no lawmaker opposes the notification.
The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter and is used by the US Army and a number of international defence forces. The contract also includes fire control radars; Hellfire Longbow missiles; Stinger Block I-92H missiles; night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems.
In its notification to the Congress, the Pentagon said, “This will strengthen India’s ability to defend its homeland and deter regional threats.”
“This support for the AH-64E will provide an increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernise its armed forces. India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces,” the Pentagon said. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it said. A formal announcement is expected to be made shortly.
The lead contractors are US arms, aviations and engineering giants Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.
Bilateral defence trade between India and the United States has risen from near zero to USD 15 billion since 2008.
“India is projected to spend billions on military modernisation over the next decade, and we are eager to seize opportunities for American industry. These sales support our security cooperation while also generating jobs at home,” a State Department official told PTI.
Government-to-Government sales of US to India in recent years have included C-17 transport aircraft, 155 mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers, UGM-84L Harpoon missiles, Support for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear support equipment.
AH-64E Apache attack helicopter