India, US ink $1bn deal for 6 C130J aircraft


India and the US have inked another mega-defence contract, the $1.01 billion for six additional C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft, while some others are being finalised.
Indian Defence Ministry sources said the “letter of offer and acceptance” for the six new four-engine C-130Js, which will be delivered within three years, was signed on Friday under the US government’s “foreign military sales” (FMS) programme.
The IAF already has six C-130Js tactical airlift aircraft, ordered for $962 million in 2007, which are based at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of Delhi. The six new C-130Js, also configured for “special operations” as the first six, will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal.
Panagarh will also house the headquarters of the new mountain strike corps, with a total of over 80,000 soldiers, being raised by the Army in a project worth around Rs 90,000 crore. This new corps will plug operational gaps along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as give “some serious ground offensive capabilities” against China for the first time, Times of India said.