WASHINGTON: If the UPA government's position on BMWs imported by the previous government is anything to go by, India may soon be stuck with high-end avionics and defence capabilities for three VIP Boeings.
The Pentagon on Thursday announced it has cleared the sale to India of missile warnings and countermeasure systems for the aircraft used by Indian leaders in a deal worth $ 40 million. The systems were ordered by the NDA government.
The three systems each consist of a AN/AAQ-24 large aircraft infrared countermeasures system, a AN/ALE-47H countermeasure dispensing system and a AN/ALQ-211 early warning suite controller and radar warning system, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
The AN/AAQ-24 is a system that automatically alerts an aircraft's crew to a missile launch and activates an infrared countermeasure to foil the launch. The AN/ALQ-211 is used to detect hostile radar signals and jam them, and the AN/ALE-47H is computer controlled system to dispense decoys.
"India will install the self protection system on three new Boeing 737 aircraft," the DSCO said, pointedly adding that, "They will use the system for the movement and protection of their head of state."
The UPA government has declined to use a fleet of BMW's featuring sat phones and other high tech gadgetry imported at a cost of $ 1.3 million by the Vajpayee government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he prefers the familiar old Ambassador car. While some might appreciate the return to spartan ways, others might see it as misplaced zeal.
Across the world, leaders are depending on technology to avoid being targeted by terrorists. Pakistan's military leader Pervez Musharraf escaped an assassination attempt last year because of high-tech jammers in his car that delayed detonation of explosives terrorists set off.
The prime contractor for the Indian VIP security project is Greenville, Texas-based L3 Communications, a firm that boasts of expertise in installation of interiors and avionics systems, including integration of mission systems, for VIP and head-of-state aircraft.