The Donald Trump Administration on Monday notified the Congress of its determination to sell Harpoon Block II air-launched anti-ship missiles and lightweight torpedoes worth $155 million to India. The two weapon systems are meant for the Indian Navy’s fleet of P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.
The sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles is estimated to cost $92 million, while 16 MK 54 all-up round lightweight torpedoes and three MK 54 exercise torpedoes are estimated to cost $63 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in two separate notifications to the Congress.
A determination in this regard was recently made by the US State Department following a request for these two types of military hardware made by the Indian Government, the Pentagon said.
According to the Pentagon, the Harpoon missile system will be integrated into the P-8I aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defence of critical sea lanes while enhancing inter-operability with the US and other allied forces. "India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence. India will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” the Pentagon said.
While the Harpoon missiles will be manufactured by Boeing, the torpedoes would be supplied by Raytheon, the notification said.
The proposed sale, it said, will improve India's capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The MK 54 lightweight torpedo will provide the capability to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions.
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence. India intends to utilize MK 54 lightweight torpedoes on its P-8I aircraft. India will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces,” it said.
In both the notifications, the Pentagon said that the proposed sale of these equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
According to the Pentagon, this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.