Amid row over diplomat's arrest, US bags key aircraft deal
Posted on: 09:41 PM IST Dec 20, 2013
New Delhi: India will be procuring six more C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations aircraft from the US, a decision significantly taken in the midst of a diplomatic row between the two countries over the arrest of Devyani Khobragade.
The proposal to procure the six C-130J Super Hercules special operations transport aircraft from the US in a deal worth over Rs 4,000 crore was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources said here.
The IAF already has a fleet of six similar planes which are deployed at the Hindan air base near here and the force uses it for carrying out special operations including landing at the inhospitable air strips in the Ladakh area. The IAF had acquired the first lot of six aircraft at a cost of around Rs 5,500 crore.
The new lot of six planes will be located at Panagarh in West Bengal, which would be headquarters of the proposed Mountain Strike Corps of the army along the China border. Like the first lot, the purchase of six additional aircraft will be through the foreign military sales route between India and the US governments.
The decision assumes significance as it has been taken notwithstanding the diplomatic row with the US over the treatment meted out to Indian Deputy Consul General in New York. India is angry at the American administration's action.
The aircraft is capable of airdropping commandos and material in darkness due to its night-vision imaging. It can prove very handy in wartime due to its ability for special air operations and transport of material and supplies.
It can be used in mountainous terrain in hostile circumstances. The four-engine plane with Rolls Royce engines has the technology and configuration to perform low-level precision flying.