US to sell India two advanced missile defence systems for VVIP planes
08 February 2019
The United States will sell India two advanced missile defence systems that would protect the aircraft used by the President and prime minister of the country from enemy attack.
The new missile defence systems that would bring the security of ‘Air India One’ on par with that of ‘Air Force One’ used by the American President, would be installed in two Boeing 777 Head-of-State aircraft.
The Trump administration approved the purchase of the two systems known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) for an estimated cost of $190 million, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notification to the Congress on Wednesday.
The Indian government had recently made the request for LAIRCM and SPS, given the high-level threat to the prime minister and the President.
According to the notification, India requested to buy two SPS consisting of AN/AAQ 24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), ALQ-211(V)8 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) and AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing System (CMDS) to protect two (2) Boeing-777 Head-of-State aircraft.
“This potential sale would include twelve Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (6 installed and 6 spares), eight (8) LAIRCM System Processor Replacements (LSPR) AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (2 installed and 6 spares); twenty-three (23) Missile Warning Sensors (MWS) for AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (12 installed and 11 spares), five (5) AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing System (CMDS) (2 installed and 3 spares),” the notification said.
Also included in this sale are Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS), LAIRCM CIURs, SCAs, HCCs, and UDM cards, initial spares, consumables, repair and return support and support equipment.
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.
According to the Pentagon, the sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.
For this, the Indian government will buy two Boeing 777 ERs from the national carrier Air India to be fitted with the missile defence system. However, the two aircraft would not be used for commercial purposes as has been done in the past.
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.
The missile warning subsystem 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.
Observing that it will improve India’s capability to deter regional threats, the Congressional notification said the SPS will facilitate a more robust capability into areas of increased missile threats.
“India will have no problem absorbing and using this system,” the DSCA statement said.
The department said the proposed sale will not “alter the basic military balance in the region”.
The prime contractor will be the Boeing Company. “The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor,” the DSCA statement said.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of one additional US contractor representative to India, it said.