US notifies sale of Harpoon missiles for Indian Navy
US Congress has to approve the sale first
BY Ritu Sharma
The US government has notified that country's legislature for a "possible" sale of 21 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile systems to India under a complete package worth $200 million (over Rs 900 crore).
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed the US Congress about the deal that would take place through foreign military sale route and would involve the sale of associated equipment, parts and logistical support. The aircraft-fired missiles are for the maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft P-8I purchased by the Indian Navy from US aerospace major Boeing.
Harpoons are all-weather, over the horizon, anti-ship missile systems.
The notification read: "This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-India strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South Asia."
The Indian government has requested a sale of 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles, 5 ATM-84L Harpoon Block II Training Missiles, captive air training missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
India has already purchased Harpoon Block II missiles for integration on the Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft. Moreover, Pakistan has already purchased 40 air-launched Harpoon Block II missiles.
The notification added: "The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region."
India purchased eight P-8Is for $2.13 billion in January 2009. However, the Indian Navy contracted for four additional P-8Is taking the deal past $3 billion mark, making it the biggest defence deal between India and US so far. Work has begun on the first aircraft and it will be delivered to India by early 2013 after complete testing.
P-8I is the variant of the P-8A that Boeing Defense, Space and Security is developing for the US Navy. India is the only customer for the P-8I outside the US.
The P-8I, with an operating range of 600 nautical miles, is a multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft and can operate over land or water while performing anti-submarine warfare missions; search and rescue; maritime interdiction; and long-range intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.
Armed with torpedoes, depth bombs and Harpoon missiles, apart from being packed with long-range radars and sensors, the P-8Is will also boost its anti-warship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.