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 Hitavada - - PASTIME - ■ By Lalit K Jha

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

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