US Hopeful of Bagging Supply of Fighter Aircraft to IAF, Navy

Defence Industry

Hyderabad: US is hopeful of bagging the supply of fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy by selling its F-21 and F/A-18 Super Hornets respectively, a top US official said in Hyderabad on December 18.

Joel Starr, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in the US Department of State, said the IAF and Navy fighter competitions are once in a generation opportunity to more close ally US and India.

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“We have the best product technologically advanced F21 for Indian Air Force and F/A 18 which I understand the Indian Navy is very much interested in. That competition will be concluding soon and I hope resolution will be satisfactory for both the parties,” he told reporters on the sidelines of US-India Defence Ties Conference here.

Earlier, he told the Conference that choosing US fighter aircraft presents an opportunity to not only meet India’s military requirements but deepen their partnership.

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“For fighter competitions we offer some best technology widely deployed by our Navy and Air Force. F/A 18 Super Hornet and F21 will both bolster India’s defence capabilities, widen its defence industrial base and position it as a supplier in global defence eco-system shared by network of our allies and partners,” he said..

Starr believes the two deals could give huge boost to the bilateral defence trade between the US and India, which is currently estimated at $16 billion.

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He said as India restructure its forces, the US will continue to offer highest quality, most dependable and most technologically advanced products in the market to India.

He claimed that US military sales will benefit both Indian national security and Indian and American workers.

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“The security relationship between India and the US continues to grow. From increasing military cooperation, exercises to defence trade, the US will continue to work with India to ensure a free and safe Indo-Pacific region,” he added.