India to Buy 10 Boeing Jets in Largest U.S. Deal

By Bibhudatta Pradhan and Andrew MacAskill – Jun 6, 2011 6:25 AM MT

The cabinet’s committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today gave its final approval for the purchase of the heavy-lift Globemaster III planes at a meeting in New Delhi, according to a defense ministry official who didn’t wish to be identified before a public announcement. Photographer: Graham Crouch/Bloomberg

India approved buying 10 Boeing Co. (BA) C-17 military cargo aircraft for $4.1 billion, its largest ever defense deal with the U.S., strengthening the country’s capability to transport troops, vehicles and artillery.

The cabinet’s committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today gave its final approval for the purchase of the heavy-lift Globemaster III planes at a meeting in New Delhi, according to a defense ministry official who didn’t wish to be identified before a public announcement.

The decision comes after fighter jets manufactured by Boeing and fellow American aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) in April failed to make a shortlist for India’s procurement of 126 warplanes at a cost of about $10 billion. Jets made by France’s Dassault Aviation SA (AM) and the European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co. are now competing for the world’s biggest fighter-jet order in 15 years.

Foreign governments and companies struggling to recover from global recession are competing to sell $120 billion worth of arms that India may buy between 2012 and 2017 as it seeks to overhaul its defense capabilities, according to a 2010 estimate by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. The country is modernizing its military as it looks beyond a traditional rivalry with Pakistan to counter China’s rising power.

India’s current military cargo fleet is dominated by ageing Russian-built Ilyushin and Antonov aircraft.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi atbpradhan@bloomberg.net; Andrew Macaskill in New Delhi at amacaskill@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Hari Govind at hgovind@bloomberg.net; Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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