Harpoon : US clears sale of AGM-84L Block II missiles

Harpoon missiles and torpedoes worth $155 million cleared for sale to India by US.

The purchase of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles is estimated to cost $92 million to India. It contains 16 Mark 54 lightweight torpedoes, and three Mark 54 exercise torpedoes are estimated to cost $63 million.

The US notified its plans to sell India its air-launched anti-ship missiles. It is lightweight torpedoes worth $155 million to enhance the latter’s deterrence capabilities against “regional threats” and boost its homeland defense.
10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles will cost $92 million. In contrast, 16 Mark 54 lightweight torpedoes and three Mark 54 exercise torpedoes will cost $63 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The US State Department cleared the sales following a request from the Indian government on the grounds of China flexing its military muscle in the strategic Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean regions.

China And The China Sea

In recent years, China has engaged in disputes with its smaller neighbors over the sovereignty of countries in the South and the East China Sea. China claims sovereignty over the sea. Whereas Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan have counterclaims. In the East, Beijing has territorial disputes with Japan. The South and the East China Sea are said to be rich in minerals, oil, and other natural resources besides being vital to global trade.

In 2016, Washington recognized India as a “Major Defence Partner,” a designation that allows New Delhi to purchase more advanced as well as sensitive technologies from the US on a par with that its closest allies and partners.

Harpoon missile system

According to the Pentagon, the Harpoon missile system will be integrated into the P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defense of critical sea lanes of communication while enhancing interoperability with the US and its partners.

“India will use the enhanced military power as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense. India will have no difficulty in using and utilizing this equipment into its armed forces,” the Pentagon said.

Boeing and Raytheon

While Boeing will manufacture the Harpoon missiles, the Raytheon will supply torpedoes, the notification said.

The proposed sale, it said, will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The Mark 54 lightweight torpedos will provide the capacity to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions.

The sale of neither piece of military equipment will alter the essential army balance in the region, the Pentagon said, adding that it would support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping strengthen strategic relationship with India.