Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Indian Air Force C-130J Stripped of key Advance Gadgets

In just over four weeks from now, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will take delivery of its first American-built C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft at a facility in Georgia, US. Part of a 2008 deal worth $ 964 million for six aircraft, the IAF C-130J will be the first US military aircraft India has procured in over four decades since it flew the American Douglas Dakota and Fairchild Packet in the 1960s.

But there is something amiss. The contract document, a copy of which is with Headlines Today, reveals five specific pieces of high-end equipment, that the US has stripped from the aircraft, being sold to India. This is a direct consequence of New Delhi's reluctance to enter into a contentious technology inter- operability agreement with Washington.

The equipment kept off the Indian aircraft includes its advanced communications equipment. The equipment includes the AN/ ARC- 222 SINCGARS combat net radio, the KV- 119 Identify Friend- Foe digital transponder, the TACTERM/ANDVT high frequency secure voice terminal, the VINSON KY- 58 secure voice module and parts of the Rockwell- Collins AN/ ARC-210(V) SATCOM transceiver.

The US has refused to fit these items on the Indian C-130J fleet unless India enters into a bilateral pact that the Indian military leadership is deeply suspicious about. It is called CISMOA - short for communications inter- operability and security memorandum of agreement.Strangely, even though the IAF had specifically asked for the high- technology items mentioned above, the C- 130J contract suggests that there is a chance the equipment won't be made available even if India signs the CISMOA. Referring to the stripped items, the contract says: " These items may be added when CISMOA is signed between" the US and India.
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