Washington, Oct 14 (Calcutta Tube) In a significant gesture to China, US President Barack Obama has issued a waiver on restrictions on export of C-130 cargo aircraft to China to be used in oil spill response operations at sea.
In an Oct 8 letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, he told the Congress that ‘it is in the national interest of the United States to terminate the suspensions’ on issuing temporary arms export licences for these exports to China.
This would be the first time since US imposed an arms embargo on China after Beijing crushed the Tiananmen Square uprising by students in 1989 that the US would be selling military-related equipment to China.
The C-130 cargo aircraft-also known as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules-is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built in the 1950s.
Capable of using improvised runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft.
It is used by the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan. Before the arms embargo was imposed in 1989, the US had exported to China, Black Hawk helicopters and other military-related equipment.
India is also buying six of an advanced version of C-130J Super Hercules airlifters, considered the world’s most advanced transport aircraft, in a $1 billion deal with the US.
The first Super Hercules that donned Indian Air Force (IAF) colours in June is undergoing a series of company and customer flight tests at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta plant in Georgia prior to delivery to India in December.
India’s six stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s would provide the Indian Army and Indian Air Force ‘new special operations capabilities using the world’s most advanced airlifter’, according to Lockheed.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)