The Defence Ministry has been able to make a valuable saving of almost $69 million (470 crore) in the deal for acquiring six C-130JSuper Hercules transport aircraft from the US. The savings have come, courtesy the procedures involved in government to government deals between India and America.
India had signed the Rs 4,000 crore deal for the second batch of six C-130J Super Hercules from the US at the end of 2013 through the American Foreign Military Sales route under which the planes are to be provided by the US Air Force to the Indian Air Force. "We saved $69 million (470 crore) due to the tendering process done by the American government for supplying the planes to us in the C-130J Super Hercules," senior Defence Ministry sources told Mail today.
As per the procedures, after India finalises defence deals with the US for military hardware, the American government issues tenders to their vendors for acquiring different set of equipment for the plating payments for future defence deals between India and US. India recently signed a deal for the 145 Ultra Light Howitzers with the US for equipping its Army's Corps of Artillery which has been deprived of a new gun for almost three decades.
The IAF already has a fleet of six similar planes which are deployed at the Hindon air base here and the force uses it for carrying out special operations including landing on inhospitable air strips in the Ladakh area. The first batch of six aircraft from the US was acquired 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. 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.
The four-engine planes with Rolls Royce engines has the technology and configuration to perform low-level precision landing. India and the US have done defence deals worth over $15 billion (1,011 crore) in the last decade after military trade was opened with America. American equipment including C-17 Globemaster heavylift aircraft and Apache attack and Chinook heavylift choppers have either been inducted or would be flying in service in next few years.