The MQ-9B predator armed drones is seen to be a key part of India's national security and defense needs. Officials did not elaborate further but ruled out that there was any bureaucratic hurdle or regulatory issues involved. The deal was announced in the summer of 2017, but has been pending for reasons not known in the public.
The sale of 30 MQ-9B predator armed drones, which will cost more than $3 billion, is eagerly anticipated by both India and the United States since it will bolster New Delhi’s total surveillance system along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Ocean.
The “ball is now in India’s court,” officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday without providing any additional details. The plan has been in the works for more than five years.
The MQ-9B predator armed drones—10 for each of the three services—are considered to be a crucial component of India’s demands for defence and national security.
The officials ruled out any involvement with bureaucratic obstacles or regulatory difficulties without going into further detail.
When questioned why the deal, which was announced in the summer of 2017, had been delayed, Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Jessica Lewis responded, “I have to take it back and check on that.”
Indian And American MQ-9B Predator Drone Deal
For unknown reasons, it has been on hold for a considerable amount of time. The difficulties, however, are thought to have come up in the discussions that visiting National Security Advisor Ajit K. Doval had with senior American officials, notably his counterpart Jake Sullivan.
Both parties are thought to have expressed a desire to see the drone agreement expedited during the discussions. India hopes that a quick decision will enable it to obtain MQ-98 predator armed drones as soon as possible, enhancing its national security and surveillance capabilities not just in the Indian Ocean but also along the LAC.
According to those familiar with the process, the Biden administration is eager to sign this agreement as soon as possible since it will generate jobs and would be politically advantageous before the next year’s presidential elections.
“The Indian military would be able to conduct a wider variety of operations with the MQ-9B than with any other comparable aircraft, fly farther than anything else in this category, and spend longer time in the air. The SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian’s onboard systems enable them to deliver full-motion video in almost any situation, day or night, as well as other types of detailed sensing “General Atomics Global Corporation’s CEO, Vivek Lall, said PTI.
“If necessary, the aircraft may also transport a range of specialised payloads to fulfil a particular task. When a SkyGuardian has a 360-degree maritime search radar, for instance, it transforms into a SeaGuardian and offers users a level of maritime domain awareness they cannot get from any other source “said he.
According to Lall, modern technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and others help access the rich flow of information from these planes, analyse it, and transmit it to people who need it to make timely judgements.
“Other payloads may include communications relays, other military or intelligence devices, or other payloads that allow the aircraft to connect forces on land or at sea. These aircraft may do search and rescue missions, assist in putting out fires, support customs officials, increase the effectiveness of naval forces, among many other jobs “added he.
“The MQ-9B is, in a nutshell, the world’s most advanced long-endurance multi-role remotely piloted aircraft. It is highly sought-after. Several countries, including Belgium, Great Britain, and Japan, are either flying them now or on schedule to do so “said Lall.
The India-US defence collaboration has accelerated, according to Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Lewis in the morning.
“We’ve really seen it expand, adapt, and change…in really positive ways,” Lewis said in answer to a question about the relationship with India, our security cooperation with India, and our defence partnership with India over the past 10 years or even a little longer.
One day after the two nations began their ambitious project in critical and emerging technologies, she added, “I think all the discussions (during this week’s iCET dialogue) are in that framework.”
“Everything from Indian system purchase and/or consideration to India’s competition when they hold system-specific contests to just our defence department’s general interaction with the Ministry of Defense. Consequently, we see this as a location where we want to maintain our close cooperation, “She remarked.
“Without going into specifics, I believe that the conversation is now quite insightful. And one that we are steadfastly dedicated to both maintaining and expanding, “added Lewis.
In response to a query, the State Department representative stated that the US is prepared to assist India in diversifying its defence requirements.
“There are, in my opinion, many possibilities when it comes to India. Naturally, we must discuss such with the Indian government and determine the requirements. However, I believe there are several possibilities for us to find new systems and ways to work together. Respecting India’s unique set of rules of the game is obviously important. There’s a lot more we can accomplish together, and I hope we can keep working on it “added Lewis.
The Predator is equipped with cameras and other sensors. It was developed in the early 1990s for aerial reconnaissance and forward observation tasks. It was improved and modified to be able to shoot or carry two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
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