US accedes to sell 2 missile defence systems to India

THE US has acceded to sell two advanced missile defence systems to India for two Boeing-777 Head-of-State aircraft for an estimated cost of USD 190 million, a decision that will enhance the security of the planes flying the President and the Prime Minister. According to the Pentagon, the sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.

The Trump administration approved the purchase of the two systems known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) for an estimated cost of USD 190 million, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notification to the Congress on Wednesday.

The US decision came after the Indian Government recently made the request for LAIRCM and SPS, given the high-level threat to the Prime Minister and the President. The defence systems, which would bring the security of ‘Air India One’ at par with that of ‘Air Force One’ used by the American President, would be installed in two Boeing 777 Head-of-State aircraft, the Pentagon said.

The Indian Government plans to buy two Boeing 777 ERs from the national carrier Air India for this specific purpose. Unlike in the past, the two aircraft would not be used for commercial purposes by Air India. The purpose of the LAIRCM programme  is to protect large aircraft from man- portable missiles. Once installed, the LAIRCM system increases crew-warning time, decreases false alarm rates and automatically counters advanced intermediate range missile systems, according to the Federation of American Scientists.


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