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India, US hold talks on P3C acquisition

September 09, 2003 19:21 IST

A high-level United States naval delegation on Tuesday opened talks with Indian officials to work out a government-to-government agreement on acquisition of eight P3C Orion long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

The US delegation held discussions with Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral S Gopalachari.  

The US Navy is offering eight Orions from its own inventory at a much-reduced price. Lockheed-Martin will upgrade the planes later before delivery to India.

If the Orion deal goes through, it will be the second major defence deal between the US and India. The two countries have already concluded a government-to-government deal for sale of ANTPQ 37 fire finding radars for the Indian Army.

US officials said India may keep options open for purchase of 10 more of these maritime reconnaissance aircraft, which are already in service with the Pakistan Navy.

The Orions, navy officials said, would fill the gaps created in navy's maritime reconnaissance capability by the crash of two of its four Russian acquired IL-38 reconnaissance aircraft.

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