THE US has agreed to sell two state-of-the-art missile defence systems to Air India One for an estimated cost of $190 million, a move aimed at enhancing the security of planes flying India’s prime minister and the president.
President Donald Trump’s administration approved the purchase of the two systems – known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) – the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notification to Congress yesterday (6).
The US decision came after the Indian government recently made a request for the LAIRCM SPS, given the high-level of security accorded to the prime minister and president.
The defence systems, which would bring the security of Air India One on par with that of Air Force One, are set to be installed in two Boeing 777 head-of- state aircraft, the Pentagon said.
India plans to buy two Boeing 777 from the national carrier Air India and unlike in the past, these will not be used for commercial purposes.
The missile warning subsystem will use multiple sensors to provide full spatial coverage.
On board lasers will be 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.
The department added that the sale will not “alter the basic military balance in the region”.