Monday, May 23, 2011

India May Double C-17 Order, Advance M777 Buy to Mollify US

The government is moving swiftly to mollify the American establishment that is deeply upset over rejection of both their fighter aircraft from the $10 billion MMRCA (medium multirole combat aircraft) contract for the Indian Air Force.

Among the steps being taken is a decision to significantly increase the order for C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft from Boeing from the present projection of 10. TOI had first reported about the C-17 deal on May 13.

Besides, the Army is moving quickly to conclude a $1 billion purchase of [M-777] ultra light howitzer guns in a couple of months. An Army quality assurance team is in the US for final leg of assessments.

Sources said the American side has been told about India's interest to continue with FMS (Foreign Military Sales) government-to-government deals as well as the decision to look at "significantly larger" order for C-17 aircraft. "Ultimately, the total C-17 purchase could be very close to the MMRCA deal," a source said.

He said the Americans were "told" at various levels about India's desire to look at purchasing five to seven more C-17 aircraft. If India were to buy seven more C-17s, then the total deal value would be well over $7 billion. Already, the IAF has a purchase order for 10 of these aircraft

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