Diplomacy

US approves $1.87-billion sale of Stinger missiles, AMRAAMs to safeguard Indian skies

Photo: American Stinger Man-Portable Air Defence Missile.

Washington: The United States today approved a $1.87-billion possible sale of an air defence weapon system to India that is expected to boost the modernisation efforts of the armed forces and help in expanding the South Asian nation’s air defence architecture for major cities like capital New Delhi.

The Trump administration’s State Department “made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale” to India of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on Feb. 7, 2020.

The Narendra Modi government had requested to buy the Integrated Air Defense Weapon System comprising of five AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems; 118 AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles; three AMRAAM Guidance Sections; four AMRAAM Control Sections; and 134 Stinger FIM-92L missiles.

Other weapon systems and equipment requested by India include: 32 M4A1 rifles; 40,320 M855 5.56mm cartridges; Fire Distribution Centers (FDC); Handheld Remote Terminals; Electrical Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Sensor Systems; AMRAAM Non-Developmental Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDI­AIU); Multi-spectral Targeting System-Model A (MTS-A); Canister Launchers (CN); High Mobility Launchers (HML); Dual Mount Stinger (DMS) Air Defense Systems; and Vehicle Mounted Stinger Rapid Ranger Air Defense Systems.

Photo: AIM-120 AMRAAM.

More equipment required are: communications equipment; tool kits; test equipment; range and test programs; support equipment; prime movers; generators; technical documentation; computer based training equipment; training equipment; training towers; ammunition storage; training and maintenance facilities; infrastructure improvements; U.S. government and contractor technical support, engineering and logistics support services; warranty services; Systems and Integration Checkout (SICO); field office support; and other related elements of logistics and programme support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” a notification on the DSCA website said.

India intends to use these defence articles and services to modernise its armed forces, and to expand its existing air defence architecture to counter threats posed by air attack. This will contribute to India’s military goal to update its capability while further enhancing greater interoperability between India, the US, and other allies. India will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.

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

The principal contractors involved in this programme are the Raytheon Corporation and Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace. There are no known offset agreements proposed in conjunction with this proposed sale; however, India typically requests defence offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in the negotiations between the Indian government and the prime contractors in this deal.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require 60 US government or contractor representatives to travel to India for a period of six weeks (non-concurrent). Activities will include de-processing/fielding, training, and technical/logistics support.

“There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale,” the DSCA said. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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