The U.S. Defense Department on Monday told Congress it approved the sale to India of logistics support worth $133 million for two Lockheed Martin Corp. P-3C reconnaissance aircraft it plans to lease.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the logistics support includes training devices, operations and maintenance training, as well as spare parts.
Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed would be the prime contractor, which DSCA said would help improve India's security, while at the same time strengthening the U.S.-India strategic partnership.
Congress has 30 days to block the proposed sale, although such action is rare.
DSCA spokesman Jose Ibarra said the notification did not include the leasing of the actual Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft and had no immediate details on that part of the deal.
The Pentagon said the two leased P-3Cs would replace two existing Indian Navy patrol aircraft, Soviet-built IL-38 Mays, which were quickly reaching the end of their operational life.
"To maintain security, it is necessary that India replace these fixed-wing aircraft with an airborne operational capability for land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance," DSCA said in a statement.
Lockheed officials in February first announced the company was in talks to sell up to 12 P-3Cs to the Indian navy. The company had no immediate comment on Monday's news.
India's rival, Pakistan, announced in August it had acquired eight P-3Cs from the United States, which would help boost its naval capabilities.