Sparrow-armed F-6 Skyray offered to India in 1964

datafuser

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In 1964 the US offered about 70 F-6 Skyrays to persuade India to drop the plan to introduce the Russian MiG-21.

AIM-7 Sparrow III-6Bs, which had not been given to any other country including NATO at that time, was considered for the F-6 Skyray for India.

" 5. Sparrow. I understand that the Navy has as of this date determined that the Sparrow missile should not be released to India. So far Sparrow III, which we have been considering giving to India for the F–6A, has not been given to any other country (including NATO), and the Navy feels that release would result in serious risk of compromising Sparrow III–6B which is used on our first line fighters. (We do have clearance on Sidewinder.) "

http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v25/d42

42. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Solbert) to Secretary of Defense McNamara1

Washington, May 6, 1964.

SUBJECT
Long Term Military Assistance for India

1. Discussions with the Indians. We will be reviewing the Indian Five-Year Defense Plan with the Indian experts on May 11–15 and with Defense Minister Chavan on May 19–21.

2. General Approach. The main purpose of these discussions will be to persuade the Indians to revise their Plan downward. At the same time we will review the FY 65 program with the Indians. We also plan to be forthcoming (on a credit sales or grant basis) on certain specific items which we can agree are reasonable and have a high priority, such as aircraft as discussed below, which might be funded subsequent to FY 65. While this is a deviation from the JCS recommendation (Tab A)2 that we should not make any commitments beyond the FY 65 plan until the Indians revise their Plan, it seems a desirable step to evidence our good faith in the current negotiations.

3. Military Assistance Credit Sales. We would hope that during the meeting with Minister Chavan we might be sufficiently forthcoming in the credit sales area to arrive at a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by yourself and the Minister on an initial sales package using FY 64, and possibly FY 65, money to finance the credit terms. We anticipate that the major portion of credit sales which could be agreed upon at this time would be in the area of defense production machinery but might also include such items as vehicles, tanks, materials handling equipment, communications equipment, raw materials and road construction equipment. We understand that the Indians consider defense production as a most important field.

In the longer run, upon agreement as to a more reasonable Indian Plan, a military assistance sales program can be established for India involving both cash and credit sales. This could provide over a 5-year period an annual credit line of $35–$50 million, repayable over a 5 to 10 year period at an interest rate not exceeding 5% as the initial U.S. negotiating position. Henry Kuss has in mind for consideration later some of the items in the Indian Plan such as transport aircraft (C–130s), supersonic aircraft (such as F–104s), and possibly Hawk missiles. While we may come to some of these items for India some day, they are not presently justified by the Chicom threat and their excessive expense is inconsistent with our pressures for reduction of Indian defense spending and our support of the Indian economic program.

We plan at present to aim for a credit sales program for FY 64, and possibly FY 65, covering low cost but high priority items and not discuss at this time the above-mentioned more expensive items.

4. Air Defense Aircraft. As you recall, when Ambassador Bowles was here it was agreed that we would discuss with the Indians the capability, cost, and availability of F–6A and F–5 aircraft and offer to assist in development of the HF–24. Since the Ambassador has returned to India, he has reverted to his original position that supplying several squadrons of F–104s is the only method to achieve his objective of minimizing Soviet influence in the Indian Air Force. In our judgment, and that of State, supplying F–104s to India in the present time frame will cause serious problems with the Pakistanis and is not presently required by the Chicom threat (though there is now increasing evidence that the Chicoms have some MIG 21s).

Accordingly, I recommend that F–104s not be offered to the Indians on any basis at present, though this would not necessarily preclude some future cash or credit sales arrangement if our efforts involving the HF–24 are not successful. In lieu thereof I recommend that we offer as alternatives F–6A aircraft on a grant aid basis or F–5 aircraft on a grant aid or credit sales basis, along with the assistance on the HF–24, as discussed below.3

While we will make every effort to persuade the Indians to accept our F–6A or F–5 aircraft, along with development of the HF–24, the general feeling of the Country Team in India is that this aircraft package will be unacceptable to the Indians. If this turns out to be the case, we can consider possible alternatives during Chavan's discussions with you. One alternative, proposed by the State Department, is for the U.S. to say to the Indians that if, after an examination of technical feasibility, the UK and the U.S. agree with India to collaborate in the production of the HF–24, and if this collaboration fails to produce a supersonic interceptor adequate to meet the Chicom threat, at such time as this failure is determined the U.S. will assist in finding other means to meet the Indian need for supersonic aircraft. I regard this as a commitment to make available to the Indians, on a credit or cash purchase basis, a Mach 2 aircraft some two or three years from now if the HF–24 project fails. While this proposition has some merit, it is an extremely vague commitment and I recommend we defer any action on such a statement to the Indians pending our assessment of the Indian experts' reactions to the presently proposed aircraft package.4

HF–24. Our exploration of the feasibility of assisting the Indians with the development of an engine for the HF–24 has been held up because the Indians have not granted permission for the US–UK team to visit the plant in India. The Embassy in New Delhi believes this is because of current negotiations with the UAR for an engine. The Indians have, however, offered to send drawings of the airframe to Rolls Royce in London. The project still seems feasible, and accordingly we will suggest to the Indians when they are in Washington that they permit a team of US–UK personnel to visit India as soon as possible to study the problems of adapting the HF–24 airframe to the Rolls Royce engine and the problems of manufacturing the aircraft and engine in India.

5. Sparrow. I understand that the Navy has as of this date determined that the Sparrow missile should not be released to India. So far Sparrow III, which we have been considering giving to India for the F–6A, has not been given to any other country (including NATO), and the Navy feels that release would result in serious risk of compromising Sparrow III–6B which is used on our first line fighters. (We do have clearance on Sidewinder.)

Peter Solbert

1 Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 7425, India 091.3 MSP. Secret. Received in the Office of the Secretary of Defense on May 7 at 10:52 a.m.

2 Not found attached. The attachment was apparently a draft of the memorandum dealing with air defense aircraft for India that the JCS sent to McNamara as JCSM-396–64 on May 8. (Ibid., India 452)

3 McNamara initialed his approval on May 8.

4 McNamara initialed his approval on May 8.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Would've been interesting to see that. Was there any possibility of us maybe giving the Indians a downgraded version of the Sparrow instead?
 

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