Tuesday, October 26, 2010

US to hand over first C-130J plane to India in December

US will hand over the first of the six C-130Js ordered by India to its Air Force in December and it is expected to reach its base near here by February next year. The C-130J made for India by American aerospace major Lockheed Martin at its Marietta facility had recently carried out its first flight successfully after it was painted in IAF colours. "The first of the six C-130Js ordered by India will be handed over in December this year in Georgia and it will reach its Indian base by February next year," American government officials told reporters here ahead of their President Barack Obama's visit here beginning November six.

India had bought the C-130Js from the US through an agreement signed in 2007 for USD 950 million. The officials said the US company had executed the deal "on time and on budget". On the USD 2.1-billion deal for eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft deal, the officials said it was interesting that both India and US navies would get the platform at the same time sometime next year, providing "an opportunity" to learn together." "It is a brand new platform for both US and India," they added.

The officials said India was keen on buying 145 M777 howitzers from the US for which the guns were put on trial in India last week. With India's artillery procurements getting delayed, New Delhi had expressed its interest to the US to buy the guns for which US Congress approval had been sought. "We are now moving towards more military sales," they added. The officials also noted that the Indo-US military relationship was "matured and well evolved," and not based on one transaction. "It is based on exchanges. This is not a relationship, it is partnership," they said, pointing out that US' military exercises with India was the "biggest" the Americans held. India's Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces hold frequent exercises with the US counterparts.

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