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India, US sign $3 bn deal for military helicopters

The US President described the deal for 24 MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters and six Apache attack choppers as a highlight of the visit and said it would contribute to interoperability.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 10.32 AM IST
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Apache
IAF's Apache chopper
NEW DELHI: India and the US on Tuesday signed a $3 billion military helicopter deal during President Donald Trump’s visit. The clearances for the pact were rushed through in anticipation of the high-profile visit.

The US President described the deal for 24 MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters and six Apache attack choppers as a highlight of the visit and said it would contribute to interoperability.

“Earlier today, we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters. These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side by side,” Trump said.

Officials said deliveries will commence in three years and several Indian private sector companies, including the Tata group, will benefit from the offset work that would come in the wake of them becoming part of the global supply chain of US companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The $2 billion deal for helicopters made by Sikorsky (part of the Lockheed Martin group) for deployment on frontline destroyers and frigates has been a top priority for the Indian Navy.

Indian Air Force is already using the Apache helicopters. India will sign a deal for six additional choppers at an estimated $930 million for the Army.

“We welcome India’s decision to acquire six AH-64 helicopters and lifecycle service support for the Indian Army. The AH-64E will be a force multiplier for the Indian Army, just as it is today for the Indian Air Force,” Boeing India President Salil Gupte said.

These helicopters are replacements for the Russian origin Mi-35s and are known for their ability to take down high-value targets. Boeing has already delivered 17 of 22 Apaches on order by the IAF, with the remaining five to come by the next month.
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