MUMBAI, India: India has signed an agreement with the U.S. government to buy the advanced anti-ship missiles to improve coastal aerial combat capability, local media reported on Friday.
The agreement worth about 170 million U.S. dollars was signed late last month, and the Indian Air Force (IAF) will acquire 24 U. S-made Harpoon Block II air-to-surface missiles, the Indian newspaper the Economic Times reported.
According to the report, the deal has been negotiated for more than two years, and the former Bush administration approved the sales of the missiles during Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony’ s visit to Washington in 2008.
The report said the Indian Navy’s air fleet lacks the lethal coastal anti-ship capability due to the shortages of the advanced fixed-wing aircraft and weapons. Those Harpoon missiles will be used for the coastal aerial guard by the Jaguar ground attack planes in the IAF .
It will be the first time for India to buy the advance anti- ship missiles from the United States in dozens of years.
Harpoon is a world-known all-weather, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile. Its launching platforms include the fixed-wing aircraft, surface ships and submarines.
Harpoon Block II is an improved version of the Harpoon family for the littoral water anti-ship striking.