India, US sign $1billion contract for six “Super Hercules” aircrafts
India and the US have signed another mega defence deal worth $1.01 billion in which the US will supply six additional C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft. The “letter of offer and acceptance” for the six new four-engine C-130Js, which will be delivered within 3 years, was inked under the US government’s “Foreign Military Sales” (FMS) programme.
The Indian Air Force already has six C-130Js tactical airlift aircraft, which are based at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of Delhi. The upcoming six new C-130Js will be stationed at Panagarh in West Bengal.
India’s first Mountain Strike Force: XVII Corps
India’s new mountain strike corps which has been named XVII Corps will also have its headquarters in Panagarh. The XVII Corps with a total of over 80,000 soldiers, is being brought up by the Army in a project worth around Rs 90,000 crore. This new corps will fill operational voids along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as add to the Indian Army’s ground offensive capabilities against China for the first time.
Factbox: C-130J ‘Super Hercules’
Manufactured by the United States.
- World’s most advanced and tactical aircraft.
- Primarily designed to support India’s special operations requirement.
- Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set (IDS), the aircraft can perform precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions.
- Self-protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defense environments. The aircraft also is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations.
- Ideally suited to India’s mission environment, which often involves operating out of austere, high-elevation airstrips in hot conditions.
- Powered by four Rolls Royce AE2100 engines and Dowty six bladed props which provide the aircraft with tremendous power.
- The aircraft has already demonstrated its responsiveness during the recent Uttarakhand flood disaster and 2012 Sikkim earthquake where it played a major role in relief operations.
- The rugged aircraft demonstrated its agility when IAF landed it at the world’s highest airstrip in Daulat Beg Oldi, in J&K, the place where Indian and Chinese troops had a stand-off recently. The aircraft showed that it can even land at a small forward airbase on a semi-prepared runway.