US approves $1-bn guns sale for India’s navy

File Photo: BAE Systems’ MK 45 MOD 4 naval gun in action.

Washington: The United States today approved a $1-billion sale of big naval guns for India’s navy.

The Trump administration’s State Department “made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale” to Indian Navy of up to 13 MK 45 5-inch/62-calibre (MOD 4) naval guns and related equipment worth $1.0210 billion.

The guns will arm the four Vishakapatnam-class destroyers (Project 15B) and the seven Nilgiri-class frigates (Project 17A) that are under construction at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying US Congress of the possible sale on Nov. 19 of the naval guns from the BAE Systems Land and Armaments, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The MK 45 is a naval artillery gun designed for use against surface warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment to support amphibious operations.

The gun mount features an automatic loader with a capacity of 20 rounds that can be fired under full automatic control, taking a little over a minute to exhaust those rounds at maximum fire rate.

The Narendra Modi government had requested to buy up the naval guns and 3,500 D349 Projectile, 5”/54 MK 92 MOD 1 ammunition, apart from other ammunition, spare parts, personnel training and equipment training, publications and technical data, transportation, US government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strategic regional partner,” a notification on the DSCA website said. To read the notification, click below:

The proposed sale will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The MK-45 Gun System will provide the capability to conduct anti­surface warfare and anti-air defence missions, while enhancing interoperability with US and other allied forces. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the notification said.

BAE Systems Land and Armaments manufactures the naval gun at its facility in Louisville, Kentucky. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Any offset agreement required by India will be defined in the negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor/s.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of additional US government and/or contractor representatives to India. However, US Government or contractor personnel in country visits will be required on a temporary basis in conjunction with programme technical oversight and support requirements.

There will be no adverse impact on US defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale, the notification said, adding that the notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Since 2007, US has emerged as one of the three lartest arms supplier to India, notching up deals worth $17 billion in 12 years, along with Russia and Israel.

The US has sold the C-17 Globemaster long-range aircraft, C-130 Super Hercules special cargo aircraft, M777 ultra light howitzers, again from BAE Systems, and more to India in these 12 years.

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