Space exploration will remain a priority for India and the country will launch its own satellite-based navigation system into orbit in the next couple of years, according to a senior Indian military official. Further, he said, the Indian air force will forge ahead with its acquisition of C-17 and C-130J transports as it modernizes its airlift capability. This officer, speaking on background in Washington, offered scant details on India’s plans to acquire a new multirole combat aircraft. He said only that his country seeks a fighter fleet that offers more precision-attack capability. The US and India are working on a foreign military sales deal to furnish the IAF with at least 10 and perhaps as many as 16 C-17s. India has already ordered C-130Js, with deliveries expected to begin next year. Lockheed Martin F-16s and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets are MRCA contenders.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.