As Donald Trump made his way to India for his first-ever state visit, the US President announced a key Indo-US military deal worth $3 billion that would result in the Indian armed forces getting some state of the art military equipment manufactured in the US. This military equipment would add to India's cutting edge in defence equipment not only on the western front but also on the eastern front against China.
From the stage of 'Namaste Trump' event organised by the Gujarat government to welcome the US President, Donald Trump spoke of the technological superiority of the arms and ammunition made in the US. "We make the best rockets, missiles, helicopters, planes. And we are willing to share some of our state of the art technology with India. We will be signing with India a defence deal that would give Indian Army some of the best helicopters manufactured in the US," he said.
On Tuesday, the deal was officially announced when the two leaders spoke after their bilateral meeting at the Hyderabad Bhavan.
What does the Indian Armed Forces get out of the newly penned defence deal?
To answer that question in one word -- Helicopters. The Indian Navy gets the MH-60R Seahawk, which is considered as the most advanced maritime helicopter in the world. The acquisition of the helicopter was approved by the cabinet committee on security last week. As per the deal, 24 MH-60 multi-role helicopters will be inducted in the Indian Navy. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, MH-60R Seahawk would add to the might of the Indian Navy which will also be beneficial to the US as they expect India to control the Indo-Pacific corridor.
The US Navy is currently using these helicopters as a part of their day to day operations. The helicopter specialises in hunting down submarines with highly efficient sonar reconnaissance.
The MH 60 multi-role Romeo Sikorsky will replace the ageing British-made King helicopters and will be delivered by Lockheed Martin within 2 years. These helicopters will be used in Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), Command and Control, ESM roles besides Search and Rescue (SAR), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) roles, etc.
As a part of the deal, the Indian Army will also get six AH-64E Apache helicopters for $800 million from the US. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
The additional six helicopters for the Indian Army will be in addition to the 22 already ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF). US aerospace giant Boeing has already cleared the manufacturing of these helicopters with specialised alterations that have been asked by India.
Production of the Apache helicopter also comes as a boose to PM Modi's 'Make in India' campaign as it will be produced as a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. As per reports, over 90 per cent of the parts used in these helicopters will be sourced by Indian suppliers.
The 22 Apaches for the IAF are expected to be inducted by the end of the year, while there is still no confirmation as to when the six ordered by the Army will arrive.
Apache will replace the ageing Russian MI25/35 gunships which are gradually being decommissioned.