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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

The Russian defense ministry last week said that 100 Indian Air force (IAF) personnel were in Russia for S-400 training. In response, the United States this week said that India is not likely to get a CAATSA waiver If New Delhi accepts delivery of the S-400s as planned by end of this year from Moscow. The U.S. Congress under the New Biden administration might impose from five to 12 possible sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which targets purchases of military equipment from NATO foe Russia, that might result in mild to the severe case of CAASTSA sanctions on American supplies that could affect current American systems already in service with Indian Military the most.

CAASTSA sanctions range from banning visas and denying access to the U.S.-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking any transactions with the U.S. financial system and denying export licenses. Biden may initially choose milder options targeting individual Indians rather than the government, a decision that could buy time for more diplomacy even while it may prompt Congress to separately impose tougher sanctions, but as seen in Turkeys case, Sanctions will do come on State-owned Public sector defense companies that might affect some section of the Indian Armed forces like Air force that use a major section of the US equipment.

While the Navy and Land Forces are equipped with largely non-American equipment, the Air Force might be the branch to suffer the most from this decision. IAF’s Transport air fleet is largely composed of C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules. Pratt & Whitney PT6A-25C turboprop engine is powering its PC-7 Mk II Basic Trainer aircraft and IAF also uses Apache attack Helicopters and Chinook Transport aircraft that could disturb consistent supply of parts, as well as other tasks critical for the operability that might become difficult. Procuring ammunition for the combatant Apache Helicopters could also take a hit. Sanctions might even threaten future upgrades to India’s existing fleet also.

IAF’s Fighter jet fleet largely has remained non-American for long but India’s homegrown LCA-Tejas fleet and just approved upgraded 83 Tejas Mk1A fleet are to be powered by American supplied GE F404 Engines that can have long term effect on the program. CAASTSA sanctions might put full breaks on the Transfer of Technology (ToT) of this engine to India which could mean, it could have a disturbed and vulnerable supply chain for spares of this engine that depends on the mood of the US Congress.

India might be forbidden to export LCA-Tejas with its GE F404 Engines as seen in Turkey’s case of the T-129 ATAK helicopter that stopped its sale to Pakistan due to American engines in them. General Electric might be also not allowed to work closely with the upgradation of this engine for the program nor it might be able to send its engineers and technicians to help the LCA-Tejas team in case of technical issues while in service with the fleet.

General Electric’s F414 engine integration team of engineers and technicians that are required on MWF-Mk2, TEDBF, and AMCA Mk1 fighter jets might be prevented from coming down to India to work with HAL to complete the engine integration process that requires observation and validation from the OEM of the engine for safety clearance of the aircraft. While the American administration will honor present military deals on its pieces of equipment, it might not provide the support that it usually comes with.

While the severity of the CAASTSA sanctions on India is not possible to predict by anyone at this stage since it might take a year or two for it to come into full effect that can be in multiple stages, it might be even longer due to diplomatic negotiations between both the countries. It is not clear how the air force and Navy that uses largely US equipment will be affected and to what severity, Turkish air force that operates a large fleet of US origin fighter jets like F-16 and F-4 has not reported grounding of its 300+ fighter jets since spare supply is still intact, but it could affect its upgrade programs in the long run.

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