New Delhi : India's top security panel Wednesday cleared a $1.23-billion deal for purchasing 490 French air-to-air missiles for the air force's 51-plane Mirage-2000 fleet.
The cabinet committee on security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave its nod for signing of the contract with MBDA, which will supply the 490 MICA interception and aerial combat missiles as part of the second phase of plans for upgrading the Mirage fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF), defence ministry sources said here.
The integration of the missiles on the Mirages will be executed by Thales, another French defence firm.
Though the CCS approval to the deal has come as a New Year gift for the IAF, the actual contract signing will take about a month from now, sources said.
The contract also envisages an offsets clause under which MBDA will plough back 30 percent of the deal -- $360 million -- in India's defence, aviation and homeland security sectors.
India had in July last year signed a $2.4-billion with Thales and Dassault for upgrading the Mirages with night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpits, advanced navigational systems, advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, advanced multi-mode multi-layered radars, fully integrated electronic warfare suites and advanced beyond visual range (BVR) capability.
Two of the planes will be upgraded in France by Dassault, two in India with French help and the remaining 47 entirely by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The upgrade of the entire fleet will take nine years. The first two Mirages have already been flown to France.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony had recently informed parliament that the Mirage upgrade will be completed by mid-2021.