India Will Get Harpoon Block II Missiles From US

BANGALORE:India has signed an agreement with the US government to purchase 24 HarpoonBlock II missiles for its Jaguar strike aircraft.

Boeing country head, defence, space andsecurity, Mr Vivek Lall told ET, “the deal was successfully concludedthrough the Foreign Military Sales route late last month, with Boeing as theprime contractor. The missiles are for the Indian Air Force’s maritimestrike squadron.”

The deal, expected to be worth about $170million, has been on the cards for over two years now, with the Bushadministration having wheeled out a sales notification during defence minister AK Antony’s visit to Washington in 2008. The US had also sold the samemissiles to Pakistan.

The Harpoon Block II is the latest version ofthe subsonic missile and is able to strike land-based targets and ships. It isan all-weather, over the horizon, anti-ship missile which can be launched fromsurface ships, submarines and aircraft.

However, Lall said noagreement had been reached yet with regard to supplying the missile for P-8I,India’s long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfareaircraft. The P-8I is scheduled for delivery in 2013.

“Thefinal weapons package for the P-8I is yet to be decided, and will again be soldthrough the FMS route,” he said.

According to the latestreport of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the attack capability of theNavy’s depleted fighter aircraft fleet has been significantly eroded, asthey have not been kept in full combat readiness, with the bombs fitted havingbecome obsolescent.

Mr Lall said the Phase II of the Apache andChinook helicopter programmes for the IAF will be held in the US later in theyear. Phase II will involve weapons integration field trials for bothchoppers.

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