Context:The US recently approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of  MK 54 all round up lightweight torpedoes and AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles.

More about the deal:

  • In total two deals have been made
    1. A possible Foreign Military Sale to India of 16 MK 54 all round up lightweight torpedoes and related equipment at an estimated cost of $63 million. 
      • Principal contractor for this deal is Raytheon Integrated Defense System.
    2. In the second deal, the US approved the possible sale to India of ten AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles and related equipment at an estimated cost of $92 million.
      • Boeing is the principal contractor for the equipment in this deal..
  • India plans to use the equipment requested in both the deals on the Indian Navy’s Boeing P-8I maritime aircraft.

About MK 54 lightweight torpedo

  • Previously, the MK 54 lightweight torpedo was known as the Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo (LHT). 
  • Its warhead is considered highly explosive. 
  • These torpedoes are used by US surface ships, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and are their primary anti-submarine warfare weapon.
  • Uses:
    • Primary use of this equipment is for offensive purposes when deployed by anti-submarine warfare aircraft and helicopters, and 
    • For defensive purposes when deployed by ships and against fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines and slow-moving, quiet, diesel-electric submarines.

AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles

  • The Harpoon was first deployed in 1977 and is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. 
  • This missile is being used by Armed forces in over 30 countries across the world and Boeing has delivered over 7,000 Harpoon missiles to date.
  • It uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit the designated target. 
  • Its warhead is capable of delivering lethal firepower against targets, including land-based targets, coastal defence sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft and industrial or port facilities.
  • Uses:
    • The Harpoon missile system will be integrated into the P-8I aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defense of critical sea lanes.
    • India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.

About P-8I

  • It is a long range maritime surveillance aircraft based on Boeing 737 commercial airliner and India was its first international customer.
  • Boeing’s P-8s Indian variant is referred to as P-8I.
  • It is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
  • The aircraft has surpassed 25,000 flight-hours and gives India's maritime warriors a significant edge in the strategically important Indian Ocean region. 
  • Of a total of 12 ordered aircrafts, India has received eight currently, making the Indian Navy's P-8 fleet the second largest in the world.


Defence ties between India and US: 

  • The first-ever 2+2 dialogue against the backdrop of burgeoning joint exercises such as Cope-India (Air Force), Yudh Abhyas (Army) and Vajra Prahar (Special Forces). The two sides are also increasingly engaged in multi-lateral exercises such as the MALABAR, RED FLAG and RIMPAC, covering the broad expanse of the Indo-Pacific.
  • The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command as the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), an acknowledgement of the seamless connectivity that binds the Pacific and Indian Oceans and India’s growing importance.
  • The agreements signed include the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA) signed in August 2016. It gives access to both countries and to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment.
  • BECA: It facilitates the exchange of geospatial information between India and US for both military and civilian use.
  • Fuel Exchange Agreement signed in November 2015, Technical Agreement (TA) on information sharing on  White (merchant) Shipping signed in May 2016 and the Information Exchange Annex (IEA) on Aircraft Carrier Technologies signed in June 2016.
  • DTTI: India and the United States have launched a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI): aimed at simplifying technology transfer policies and exploring possibilities of co-development co-production to invest the defence relationship with strategic value. 
  • COMCASA is meant to facilitate the use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India by the US to fully exploit their potential. It will facilitate interoperability between armed forces of both countries and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links.
  • India is in talks with the United States to procure NASAMS-II(NATIONAL ADVANCED SURFACE TO AISR MISSILE SYSTEM): It features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction. NASAMS-II is the highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defence requirement.
  • India in 2018 also became just the third Asian country (after formal US treaty allies, Japan and South Korea) to receive clearance on purchasing license-free space and defense technology under the Strategic Trade Authorisation-I.STA-1 allows India to import high-end sensitive technologies like armed drones.


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