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U.S., India Move Fast On Patriot Coop

File photo of a PAC-3 missile fire. India's continued commitment to a no-first use policy on nuclear weapons and its growing fear that Pakistan may develop an overwhelming first strike capability has propelled BMD development to being a top national priority.

Washington (UPI) Aug 18, 2005
The U.S. and Indian armed forces are moving fast to implement their recent far-reaching agreement to jointly develop anti-ballistic missile defenses.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey B. Kohler, head of the Pentagon's Defense Cooperation Security Agency (DSCA) is expected to visit the Indian capital next month to make a classified technical presentation on the anti-missile Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system, Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon and McDonnell-Douglas F-18 Hornet fighters, the Indian Express reported Wednesday.

Indian Defense Ministry sources said Gen Kohler's visit may lead to the Indian navy possibly acquiring the USS Trenton, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship, along with mine sweepers. The DCSA, which oversees U.S. military foreign sales, may also offer the Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft to the Indian navy on lease basis.

On July 25, the Pentagon informed the U.S. Congress about the possible sale of USS Trenton to India while moving the amendment to Department of Defence Appropriation Bill.

Vice-Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad, is leading a navy team to the U.S. this month to examine the Trenton before acquisition plans are finalized. USS Trenton was commissioned on March 6, 1971 and has been offered to Indian Navy at a rock-bottom price, the Indian Express said.

Accompanying Gen Kohler will be representatives from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, makers of PAC-3 systems. They are expected in New Delhi between Sept. 5 and 9, the Indian Express said.

During his visit, Gen Kohler will meet Indian Defense Secretary Shekhar Dutt, Secretary (Defense Production) Dhanendra Kumar, Scientific Advisor to Defense Minister M Natarajan, armed forces chiefs and senior officials from Ministry of External Affairs and National Security Council Secretariat, the newspaper said.

In the past, senior Indian defense officials have often dismissively described classified presentations offered to them on military hardware by U.S. officials as sweeteners. But following the U.S.-Indian deal on BMD development that is no longer the case.

Indian Defense Ministry were described by the Indian Express report as are eagerly waiting for technical briefings on the PAC-3 anti-missile defense system, as well as on the F-16 and F-18 fighters.

The PAC-3 system is an improvement on previous U.S. Patriot as it uses kinetic energy rather than explosives to knock down an incoming cruise or ballistic missile.

India's continued commitment to a no-first use policy on nuclear weapons and its growing fear that Pakistan may develop an overwhelming first strike capability has propelled BMD development to being a top national priority.

Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that New Delhi will build its own anti-missile system. However, the Indian Express acknowledged, "The fact is that Indian expertise in this strategic area is quite limited and PAC-3 will at least bridge the gap before the indigenous system comes of an age."

U.S. ballistic missile defense forces currently use a mixture of PAC-2 that use explosives and PAC-3 systems to tackle the broad spectrum of ballistic missiles

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BMD Focus: The search for Gen. Schriever
Washington (UPI) Aug 16, 2005
Gen. Lance Lord, the head of the U.S. Air Force Space Command has recognized the need for great engineer-generals like Gen. Bernard Schriever to ramrod America's ballistic missile defense and space weapons programs: But as the general well knows, such men are now a lot harder to find than they were half a century ago.

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