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Friday 3 July 2020

Romeo chopper deal precedes Trump visit; missile defence for Delhi to follow

Romeo will help navy battleships locate enemy submarines and destroy them; India had floated a global tender for such helicopters in 2017

The Cabinet Committee on Security has approved a $ 2 billion deal to buy multirole Romeo helicopters for the Indian Navy ahead of US President Donald Trump‘s visit. The US has offered a missile shield system to secure the capital’s air range too.

This deal of 24 advanced MH 60 Romeo helicopters from the US is important for the navy as some of its ships are hitting the seas soon, but there was no competent helicopter for them.

Sources said the contract would be signed during Trump‘s visit. Romeo, the advanced chopper, helps a battleship locate enemy submarines and destroy them. The navy so far lacked the capability to locate submarines in the Indian Ocean region due to the absence of such helicopters.

The navy needs more than 120 naval multi-role helicopters. It had issued a global tender for this in August 2017. But the matter came unstuck until today.

After Romeo for navy, a missile defence system for Delhi

There has also been some progress in providing the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to India from the US. With this system, the capital will be protected from all threats from the aerial route. The cost of this system is approximately $ 1.8 billion. The deal was reported to the US Congress.

Sources said that this deal could be done soon. For this, the US has issued a Letter of Acceptance (LOA). Sources said that India is close to acquiring the advanced missile system to protect the capital.

The LOA will become a contract after India signs it. This process can be completed in a few weeks.

India has purchased more than $ 18 billion worth of defence equipment from the US and made some agreements to share military logistics. The US is also the largest military training partner for India.

Till a few decades ago, India used to meet a large part of its defence equipment requirement from the USSR. But in recent years, purchases of these equipment from the US have increased.

In view of a domineering China in Asia, the US wants to increase India’s capacity to maintain a strategic balance. It has increased the sales of defence equipment to India and it is also helping in technology transfer.

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