September 4, 2013

Co-development, co-production in defence top PM's agenda on US visit

Co-development and co-production in defence, including the joint production of BAE Systems’ M-777 howitzer guns, announcement of the acquisition of 20-plus Apache and Chinook attack helicopters from Boeing and second tranche delivery of the world’s largest military transport plane C-130J Hercules, top the ‘informal’ agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s forthcoming visit to the US in September. These defence deals are expected to cost India in excess of $2.5 billion. They would also touch on the progress made so far in the Defence Trade Initiative — aimed at relaxing US laws to allow greater joint R&D efforts on defence products.
A high-level delegation led by US deputy defence secretary Ashton Carter is landing in the capital to finalise the agenda in the next few days, government sources told FE.
FE has learnt that an announcement of a second tranche of the world’s largest military transport plane C-130J Hercules from Lockheed Martin is also expected during the PM’s 3-day visit to the US. Even though both sides are working to have a fixed agenda for the PM and his meeting with the US President Barack Obama, an announcement regarding the acquisition of 22 Boeing Apache Longbow strike Helicopters and 15 Heavy Lift Boeing CH Chinook helicopters is also on the cards.
Sources have revealed that under the Defence Trade Initiative, the US side has offered four projects including the stalled third generation anti-tank guided Javelin missile for the Indian Army, which would also feature in the talks.
The missile is delayed due to reluctance by the Americans to offer the critical technology of the missile to India and the unwillingness to take part in field trials. India is planning to acquire these missiles for modernising its more than 350 Infantry units and provide them the capability to destroy enemy
armoured regiments.
Sources said the US side is keen on the joint production for some aspects of the BAE Systems’ M-777 howitzer guns — for which Bharat Heavy Electrical (BHEL) is one of the PSUs identified for this project as part of offsets. According to the proposed co-production agreement, crucial parts of the M-777 howitzer guns may be developed in India.
With a growing track record of major system sales, including C-17 Globemaster III and
C-130J transport aircraft, P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, the two sides are on the cusp of signing many more deals.
India is expecting to seal deals worth billions of dollars for helicopters, howitzer guns, weapons systems and platforms with the US in 2013-14. Six C-130J special operations aircraft from Lockheed Martin, valued at $1.2 billion, have already arrived in the country and an order for six more is in
the offing.
India is in the process of placing an order for M777 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS) for $885 million from BAE Systems, US through foreign military sales (FMS) route. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also shortlisted 22 Boeing Apache Longbow strike helicopters ($1.2 billion), and 15 heavy-lift Boeing CH Chinook helicopters ($1.4 billion).


1 comment:

  1. C-130J Hercules is not the world’s largest military transport plane. The C-5 or the Antonov is.