NEW DELHI — India has offered to buy two intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft from Raytheon on a government-to-government basis.

The request was made to visiting US Defense Secretary Ash Carter Wednesday, said a Defence Ministry source. Another project which India and the US are discussing, on India's request, is joint development of the GE-414 jet engine for use by India's homemade Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the source added.

The Defence Ministry's official release did not mention India's offer, but the MoD source said the proposal to U.S. has been kept low key.

The Air Force has already been briefed by Raytheon about the ISTAR aircraft and has evinced interest in wanting to procure planes that will use an active electronically scanned array AESA radar and be able to scan more than 30,000 kilometers in a minute and analyze that data in 10 to 15 minutes to identify the targets.

No official of Raytheon was available for comment.

On the engine project, the Defence Ministry's release said: "Building on the areas of agreement during President Obama's visit to India in January 2015, Raksha Mantri (Indian Defense Minister) and Secretary Carter agreed to expedite discussions to take forward cooperation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction, and other areas. The two also agreed to pursue co-development and co-production projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defense industries to build defense partnerships with the Indian industries including in manufacturing under 'Make in India'."

The two countries are also working toward sharing technology for aircraft carriers, which includes helping build a nuclear carrier and sharing the next-generation electromagnetic aircraft launch system technology, used on carriers, which will enable the carrier to fly a variety of aircraft ranging from small to medium-sized combat aircraft, the source added.

During Carter's visit, India and the US extended their 10-year defense framework agreement, first signed in 2005.

According to the official release, the new framework "builds upon the previous framework and successes to guide the bilateral defense and strategic partnership for the next ten years. The new framework agreement provides avenues for high level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between armed forces of both countries, and strengthening of defense capabilities."

India and the US also have finalized two project agreements for joint development of mobile electric hybrid power sources and next generation protective ensembles, the release added.


Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.

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