US approves $90-million Lockheed Martin’s aircraft follow-on support to India

Photo: C-130J Super Hercules.

New Delhi/Washington: The Donald Trump administration has approved a key follow-up support by American defence major Lockheed Martin Corp to India’s C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft fleet, in a boost to their bilateral military trade and diplomatic ties, against the backdrop of the flare up with China in the South Asian and Indo-Pacific region.

On Sep. 30 (Oct. 1 in India), the State Department of the United States made a “determination” approving the possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of items and services to extend follow-on support for their fleet of C-130J aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $90 million.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying US Congress of this possible sale, based on a request from the Narendra Modi government.

The United States is now one of the largest arms supplier to India, competing for the top slot against traditional partners Russia, Israel and France. Since 2007, US has made defence supplies cumulatively worth at least $18 billion, which included C-130J, C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift transporter aircraft and P-8I maritime surveillance plane from Boeing Co., and others.

Here are to further contents of the notification:

“These items include aircraft consumables spares and repair/return parts; ground support and equipment; Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) fire extinguisher cartridges; flare cartridges; BBU-35/B cartridge impulse squibs; one spare AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receiver shipset; spare AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispenser System shipset; ten Lightweight Night Vision Binocular (F5032); ten AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggle (NVG)(F4949); GPS; Electronic Warfare; instruments and lab equipment support; Joint Mission Planning System; cryptographic device spares and loaders; software and software support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training and training equipment; U.S. and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support; and other related elements of program support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and 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, it said.

“The proposed sale ensures the previously procured aircraft operates effectively to serve the needs of Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Indian Navy transport requirements, local and international humanitarian assistance, and regional disaster relief. This sale of spares and services will enable the Indian Air Force to sustain a mission-ready status with respect to the C-130J transport. India will have no difficulty absorbing this additional sustainment support.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Company, Marietta, Georgia. There are no known offsets proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives India.

“There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.”

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