Friday, April 06, 2018

US may give India armed drones, 5th generation fighter jets but with riders

Washington: The trajectory of the India-US defence ties in the fighter jet segment depends on New Delhi's decision on the F-16 and F-18 warplanes being offered by the US, a top Defence Department official has said.

A positive decision by India could be a precursor to advanced fighter technology the fifth generation, Joe Felter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia said yesterday, adding that the Trump administration would like a closer co-operation with India on fighter jets.

"So, starting down the path of fighter cooperation beginning with the (F-16) Block 70 or F-18, I think would be a great signal that the India (is) serious about the level of cooperation that we think would be in India's interest and could potentially, if we stay on this trajectory, lead to even closer cooperation, and even more advanced technology being offered," Felter told PTI in an exclusive interview.

"..I think it would be a natural progression to discuss at a later date sharing even more advanced fighter technology (maybe even fifth generation fighters)," he said.

The US is also considering New Delhi's interest in armed drones for its air force, the official said, noting that neither have they received any offer nor have they made any decision on this count.
06/04/18 PTI/Business Standard