New Delhi: India has inked a Rs 423 crore contract with the United States for procurement of MK 54 torpedoes, officials said.
India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen its homeland defence. India intends to utilise MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes on its P-8I aircraft. The MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo will provide the capability to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions.
The US recognised India as a "Major Defence Partner" in 2016, and this move has facilitated India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from America at par with that of the US closest allies and partners.
Officials said the Ministry of Defence signed the contract with the US government on Oct 21 for procurement of MK 54 Torpedo and Expendable (Chaff and Flares) for the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy has 11 P-8I aircraft, which are manufactured by US aerospace company Boeing. The P-8I aircraft is known for its advanced maritime reconnaissance capabilities and also as anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The Mk 54 torpedo can be deployed from surface ships, helicopters, or fixed-wing aircraft and can track, classify, and attack underwater targets. It uses sophisticated processing algorithms to distinguish false targets and countermeasures.
Experts say the defence relations between US and India are the 'brightest area' of mutually significant strategic cooperation.
A series of meetings and mutual visits between the two sides in recent months have focused on various aspects of defence ties and also taking regional and international security into the grasp. Later this year, the 4th round of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is scheduled to take place in Washington and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will travel to the US to attend the same.