The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible $1 billion sale of up to 13 MK-45 5-inch (62-caliber) (MOD 4) naval guns to India.
India’s $1.021 request includes 3,500 D349 Projectile, 5-inch MK-92 (MOD 1) ammunition, as well as other ammunition and related equipment, spare parts and technical, training and logistics support, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release on Wednesday, November 20.
The MK-45 naval artillery gun is intended for surface-to-surface either on land or water, and can also be fired against air targets.
“The proposed sale will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems,” the DSCA release read.
“The MK-45 Gun System will provide the capability to conduct anti-surface warfare and anti-air defense missions while enhancing interoperability with U.S. and other allied forces,” the release read.
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.”
BAE Systems Land and Armaments, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will be the principal contractor, and the guns will be manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky.
India’s navy has planned since the 1990’s to eventually transition to an indigenously-build fleet, but still relies on some foreign purchases as it seeks to expand its sea warfare capabilities as China moves to exert influence over the Indian Ocean.
India’s submarine fleet also lags behind its surface warfare capabilities.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind emphasized the importance of securing India’s coastline and extensive islands in a speech to Indian Naval Academy graduates on Wednesday.
“A significant proportion of India’s trade and energy needs are met through the medium of the oceans,” Kovind said, according to the Mumbai-based Economic Times.
“Safety of the seas and maritime commons, therefore, remains a critical requirement to ensure the economic and infrastructure development on land, as [well as] also to ensure well-being of its people.”
The U.S. has previously sold the MK-45 to other regional navies, including those of Japan, Korea, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand.