New Delhi: India is all set to get its own ‘Air Force One’ to fly the president and the prime minister, under a foreign policy with the United States that aims to strengthen bilateral ties.
The US as agreed, will sell two advanced missile defence systems to India for two Boeing-777 Head-of-State aircraft for an estimated cost of USD 190 million.
According to Pentagon, the headquarter of US Defence Department, the new missile defence systems would pitch Air India One, the national carrier of Indian presidents and prime ministers at par with the ‘Air Force One’ that flies American president.
In a notification issued by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Trump administration has cleared the purchase of two Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) by 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.
This comes after the Indian government made a request for the same to the United States, following high-level threat to the president and the prime minister.
HOW GOOD IS THE NEW DEFENCE SYSTEM
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 missile warning sub-system will use multiple sensors to provide full spatial coverage.
The counter-measures subsystem will use lasers mounted in pointer-tracker turret assemblies. It also automatically counters advanced intermediate range missile systems with no action required by the crew.
The pilot will simply be informed that a threat missile was detected and jammed.
The US is the second-largest arms supplier to India. It has already recognised India as a “major defence partner”, a status that which commits the US to facilitate technology sharing with India.
In 2018, the US granted India Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) status. India is the only South Asian country to get STA1 status and third Asian country after Japan and South Korea. The status eases India’s defence procurement from the US.
With inputs from agencies