Monday, June 6, 2011

Yes to C-17, Mirage upgrade next?

Neelam Mathews
June 6, 2011

India’s high powered body- the Cabinet Committee on Security- chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has given the go-ahead for the purchase of 10 Boeing C-17 strategic heavy-lifters at an estimated cost of $4.1 billion from the U.S. The order comes with a 30% offsets clause worth $1.2 billion.

It is not clear when the long-pending 50 Mirage-2000 upgrades will be cleared by the CCS. Industry analysts have conjectured it might be tied to the MMRCA deal should the finalist French Rafale be given the contract. However, it is too early to tell.

The C-17 heavy lift deal will be music to the ears of the U.S that recently lost its two contenders to the Europeans for the over $10billion MMRCA bid finalists. The CCS has also cleared six additional C-17 aircraft if the IAF decides to exercise its options.

India has not as yet signed the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMoA), which the US law requires if transfer of hi-tech military equipment is exported. There have been no indications when it will be signed.

The C-17s will replace the IL-76s- many of which have been grounded as a result of unavailability of spares, a defense official tells Aerospace Diary.

U.S defense companies are flying high with signed deals that include the C130J, P8-I and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Many more are in the offing.

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