State Dept. approves sale of VIP aircraft missile defense systems to India

Feb. 7 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of two large aircraft self-protection suites for aircraft used to transport the prime minister and president of India.

The U.S. Defense’s Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress on Wednesday that it has approved the sale of two systems — large aircraft infrared countermeasures, or LAIRCAM, and Self-Protection Suites, or SPS — at an estimated cost is $190 million.

The systems will be installed on two Boeing-777 aircraft to be purchased from the national air carrier Air India, according to DSCA.

The India Economic Times reported India’s government recently requested the LAIRCAM SPS, given the high-level threat to the prime minister and the president. The systems will put the Indian planes on par with Air Force One.

Last year, the United States — India’s second-largest arms supplier — granted the country Strategic Trade Authorization-1 status, which eases defense procurement. Japan and South Korea also have this status in Asia.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-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,” DSCA said in a press release.

DSCA said proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

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