Press Trust of India
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 (New Delhi)
India and US will soon sign their biggest arms deal, with the government giving the nod for the purchase of six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft at an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.
''The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared the deal'', Defence Miniters A K Antony told newsmen on the sidelines of a function here.
The clearance for the deal comes a month ahead of the first ever visit to India by new US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on February 25.
The sale, minister said, would be under government-to-government FMS scheme.
This will be the third major arms deal with the US. Recently India purchased 45,000 tonne displacement USS Trenton, a shiplanding dock, now rechristened INS Jalashva for about $500 million.
Three years ago India and the US had concluded a deal for purchase of seven weapon locating radar ANTPQ-37.
C-130J manufactured by US aviation giant Lockheed Martin is being bought in special forces configuration and would come with equipment like missile warning system, radar warning receiver and counter measure dispensation.
India's version of the Super Hercules is believed to be far more advance than those supplied by the US to Pakistan.
This is first time since 1962 war with China that Indian Air Force will sport an American aircraft in its armoury.
The American aircraft has the capability to land on makeshift strips and even in complete dark and radio silence condition, which India lacked during the Kandhar hijacking.