India has signed a US$2.1 billion (S$3 billion) with US aerospace giant Boeing to buy maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian navy,br /br /The agreement to buy eight P-81 long-range reconnaissance aircraft marks India’s biggest military aircraft deal with the United States, defence ministry officials said. The contract was signed on January 1 2009 in New /br /’The deal is finally through and we will receive the first P-81 in 2013 while the remaining seven will be procured in a phased manner over the next three or four years,’ a senior official said on condition he not be /br /The contract includes lifetime maintenance support and an option for the acquisition of up to eight additional P-81 aircraft, the official /br /The deal comes less than a year after India and US-based Lockheed Martin signed an agreement worth 962 million dollars for the purchase of six C-130 Hercules transport planes for the Indian /br /Both Lockheed and Boeing are also in the race for a US$12 billion contract to sell 126 fighter jets to the Indian air force. Four other global companies from France, Russia, and the European Union are in the race for the world’s richest fighter jet deal in 16 /br /India last year also signed a 1.5-billion euro (US$2.2 billion) deal with France’s Dassault to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000 fighter jets, which the Indian air force bought in /br /India, the largest buyer of armaments among emerging nations, plans to spend 30 billion dollars until 2012 to modernize its 1.23-million-strong military, the world’s fourth /br /Source: a href=””Straits Times/a

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