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 that will enhance the security of planes flying the prime minister and the president.
The US decision came after the Indian Government recently made request for LAIRCAM SPS, given the high-level threat to the prime minister and the president.
The purpose of the LAIRCM programme is to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles. Once installed, the LAIRCAM system increases crew-warning time, decreases false alarm rates and automatically counters advanced intermediate range missile systems, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
The defence systems, which would bring security of Air India One at par with that of Air Force One, would be installed in two Boeing 777 Head-of- State aircraft, the Pentagon said.
The Trump administrations approved purchase of the two systems known as Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCAM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) for an estimated cost of $190 million, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notification to the Congress on Wednesday.
Observing that it will improve India’s capability to deter regional threats, the Congressional notification said SPS will facilitate a more robust capability into areas of increased missile threats.
“India will have no problem absorbing and using this system, it said.
According to the notification, India had requested to buy two SPS consisting of AN/AAQ 24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM), ALQ-211(V)8 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing System (CMDS) to protect two (2) Boeing-777 Head-of-State aircraft.
“This potential sale would include twelve Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (6 installed and 6 spares), eight (8) LAIRCM System Processor Replacements (LSPR) AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (2 installed and 6 spares); twenty-three (23) Missile Warning Sensors (MWS) for AN/AAQ-24 (V)N (12 installed and 11 spares), five (5) AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing System (CMDS) (2 installed and 3 spares),” the notification said.