India was approved by the US State Department to purchase two Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures Self-Protection Suites for an estimated cost of $190 million.
The self-protection systems would be installed on India’s forthcoming head-of-state Boeing 777s, called Air India One, which would transport top government officials, including the country’s prime minister and president. Air India reportedly plans to sell two Boeing 777 commercial airliners to the government of India to be converted into the executive transports.
The two self-protection suites India has requested consist of a Northrop Grumman Directional Infrared Countermeasure system, a Harris-made Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite, and BAE’s Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System, among other systems.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-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,” the US State Department wrote in a notice posted on the website of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The self-protection system will facilitate safer flight into areas of increased missile threats, says the Department of State. The agency added that India will have no problem integrating the system into its other military systems.
India’s head of state currently flies on one of two commercial 747s owned by government-backed Air India and are regularly used for passenger service, but then converted into a VIP transport for international travel.
Boeing is listed as the prime contractor. The notice also points out that India typically requests offsets, and that any such agreement will be defined in negotiations between the country and the Boeing.