U.S. to India on missile defense: Buy American

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The United States has urged India to buy the PAC-3 missile defense system rather than the Israeli-U.S. Arrow-2.

U.S. officials and congressional sources said the offer was relayed to New Dehli amid a discussion of India's air and missile defense needs. India has sought to lift export restrictions on a range of systems that includes U.S. components.

India has asked the United States to allow for the export of the Arrow-2 medium-tier missile defense system, officials said. They said Israel has briefed New Dehli on the system and provided data on its tests and interoperability with a range of other air and missile defense assets.

New Dehli has already procured the Green Pine early-warning radar, which is part of the Arrow-2 battery and developed by Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. The Arrow-2 interceptor is a U.S.-Israeli project and requires Washington's approval for export.

Officials said the State Department and Defense Department have urged India to purchase the PAC-3 low-tier system, meant to intercept short-range ballistic missiles. They said the Bush administration has pledged to lift restrictions on export of the PAC-3, manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

In July, Indian and U.S. officials discussed procurement of a missile defense system as well as other assets. Officials expect New Dehli to press for a U.S. decision to allow the export of the Arrow-2.

Last month, the State Department removed objections for the sale of Israel's Phalcon airborne early-warning system to India. The department had opposed the Israeli sale because of concerns that the Phalcon would increase tension with neighboring Pakistan.

In Tel Aviv, Israeli Aircraft Industries is preparing to sign a $100 million deal to supply India with Barak naval missiles. The amount of missiles to be supplied was not specified. The Barak has an operative range of between 0.5 km. to 10 km and features an early-warning radar system.

In New Dehli, Indian defense sources reported that a recent test-launch of the Barak was unsuccessful. The missile failed to stay on course but a second missile launched during the same test was successful and the Barak hit its target.

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