Largest ever American contingent at Aero India

Largest ever American contingent at Aero India

(Left to right) US Deputy Under Secretary of Defence Alan Shaffer, US Ambassador Kenneth Juster, and Lieutenant General Charles Hooper speak about the US participation in Aero India on Tuesday.

Leading the largest ever American contingent at Aero India here, the US Ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, on Tuesday made a robust pitch to make the growing Indo-US defence partnership even stronger.

Addressing mediapersons here, Juster drew attention to 28 US companies participating in the airshow. Symbolically driving home this point will be the flypast by Boeing’s B-52 Stratofortress long-range subsonic strategic bomber aircraft at the airshow opening.

The large American contingent, he said, will support the flight demonstrations and static displays of the C-17 Globemaster III, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the P-8 Poseidon, and, “as you will see overhead tomorrow, the B-52 Stratofortress.”

Juster was confident that this year, Indo-US defence partnership was on track to meet or exceed last year’s levels.

“The Indian Air Force has already received four of 25 ordered Chinook (CH-47) heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing on February 11, and six more are scheduled to be delivered later this year,” he informed.

Seventeen out of 25 Apache attack helicopters that IAF ordered will also arrive this year.

“The Tata Advanced Systems-Boeing joint venture is now constructing the fuselages for these attack helicopters in Hyderabad. They are manufacturing those fuselages for Apache helicopters worldwide.”

Dubbing 2018 as a ‘banner year for the United States’ major defence partnership with India, Juster said: “Last year, the Indian Armed Forces conducted more military exercises with the US than with any other armed forces in the world. More US service members came to train with their counterparts in India than in any time in the past.”

He also referred to the Malabar trilateral naval exercise to be jointly conducted by India, the US and Japan.

“Before this, we had service to service exercise but this will be a tri-service as it was agreed in the 2+2 ministerial that we held last September,” he informed.

In September, the Indian Army had received its first order of Ultra Lightweight Howitzers from the US government through a foreign military sales case.

“The Indian military is on track to receive 145 guns over the next two years. The majority of the guns will be assembled, integrated, and tested by Mahindra here in India.”