Defence Deals Current Affairs - 2019
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The United States State Department has approved sale of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters along with support equioments to India. The Apache choppers are one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters which have advanced weapons systems and night-fighting features, manufactured by Boeing.
The total estimated cost of the deal is $930 million. The proposed sale also includes 180 Hellfire Longbow air-to-surface anti-armor missiles, 90 R-3 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles, 200 Stinger air-to-air missiles; rockets, 30 mm cannons and ammunition.
It also includes simulators, communication equipment, spare and repair parts, training, engineering and other support. The prime contractors for the support sale will be Lockheed Martin, Longbow, Raytheon General Electric and Boeing.
The sale of Apache attack helicopters will strengthen India’s ability to defend its homeland and deter regional threats. It will increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernise its armed forces. India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces. Moreover, sale of these attack helicopters from US to India will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India. The deal to sell UAV drones to India is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion. Though the deal has been approved by the State Department, an official announcement regarding the deal is yet to be announced.
The transfer of the state-of-the-art UAV technology to India will be the first significant progress after India’s entry into the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and after the US has designated India as a major defence partner. India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.
The transfer of Guardian UAV technology is aimed at furthering mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean.
The deal would also pave the way for the transfer of other key technology sales from the US to India. The Guardian unmanned aircraft has been classified as Category 1 aircraft with cutting edge technologies.
Last year, the Indian Navy had requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The US has designated India as a “major defence partner” under the Obama Administration. The US considers India as a key player to counter the Chinese threat. However, the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance under Obama administration.
UAVs operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.