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Pranab says India will actively consider US arms package
Two days after expressing disappointment over the US sale of F-16s to Pakistan, the Centre on Sunday signalled its readiness to take a hard look at Washington’s compensation package for New Delhi, which includes F-18s, Patriot anti-missile systems as well as systems for management of nuclear weapons.

In a clear indication that New Delhi might be interested in looking at what the US has put on the table as part of its “South Asian match up”, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee said India will “actively consider” Washington’s offer. “This is the first time we have received an offer of the kind from the US. Naturally, when the offer is there, it will have to be actively considered by the government keeping in view the requirements of our armed forces. Though earlier we used to have sometimes some equipment of high technology, never before an offer of such sophisticated equipment including planes and others were made which have been made now,” Mr Mukherjee said in Kolkata.

The remarks are significant for two reasons. Indian Air Force has no component from the US. It is built on planes from the Soviet Union and France — MiGs, Sukhois and Mirages. There is a strong view within the Air Force that India can do with Sukhois as they have proved to be reliable and user friendly for Indian pilots.

At the same time there is also a view that defence purchases are becoming diverse after the previous NDA government took the decision to introduce Israeli weapons system. The proposed Phalcon AWACS purchases is part of this diversification.

The F-16s carry a broad range of weapons of American, European and Israeli make and, under the sales option, it would be up to New Delhi to go in for any choice. The Falcons in their air-to-air combat role carry American-made Mamram AIM-120 Beyond Visual Range missiles as well as French Mica BVRs. The total US package would include provisions for product support and training of personnel and under the programme being worked out, 24 Indian pilots would be trained in the US on F-16s and 50-60 personnel for maintenance purpose.

Mr Kelly said that the total US package would include provisions for product support and training of personnel and under the programme being worked out, 24 Indian pilots would be trained in the US on F-16s and 50-60 personnel for maintenance purpose.

On the sale of P3C Orion long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to the Navy, the Lockheed officials said that negotiations were continuing and the deal could be signed by the year end.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin, the manufacturers of F-16, confirmed that the company has offered to build “exclusive” and India-compatible F-16 fighters for the IAF, much superior to any existing fighters in service world over. “If India’s requirements are beyond any existing fighters, we are prepared to make upgraded F-16s to India’s specifications with complete transfer of technology,” Mike Kelly, senior executive of Lockheed Martin told a news agency. The proposed deal envisages supply of 18 aircraft in fly away conditions and the rest 108 assembled in India under technology transfer.

Lockheed Martin is currently manufacturing F-16s in two versions. While Block 50-52 was being supplied to US and European air forces, the Block 60 was developed exclusively for the United Arab Emirates. “We are ready to develop new Block 70 for the IAF,” the Lockheed Martin official said. Besides Lockheed, the US announcement has also cleared the ground for the other American aviation giant Boeing to bid for India’s plans to acquire 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

The other big competitors are the Dassault, the makers of French Mirage fighters, Swedish Grippen and Russians.

The F-16s carry a broad range of weapons of American, European and Israeli make and, under the sales option, it would be up to New Delhi to go in for any choice. The Falcons in their air-to-air combat role carry American-made Mamram AIM-120 Beyond Visual Range missiles as well as French Mica BVRs.

Mr Kelly said that the total US package would include provisions for product support and training of personnel and under the programme being worked out, 24 Indian pilots would be trained in the US on F-16s and 50-60 personnel for maintenance purpose.

On the sale of P3C Orion long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to the Navy, the Lockheed officials said that negotiations were continuing and the deal could be signed by the year end.


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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:41 AM

 

 
The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at topcover.com
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