MQ-9B Predator drone takes off from backburner as India and US get talking about the deal again
Seen as a crucial element of India's national security and defence needs, ten MQ-9B Predator armed drones were being sought for each of the three services. Officials, who know of the discussions, ruled out any bureaucratic hurdle or regulatory issues involved. The negotiations have lingered on for unknown reasons.
A three billion dollar deal that will assist India in reinforcing its overall surveillance apparatus along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Ocean could be in the offing. The negotiations between India and the United States to procure 30 MQ-9B Predator armed drones, which have been going on for over five years, are finally seeing some movement, officials said, adding that the ball is now in New Delhi's court.
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Seen as a crucial element of India's national security and defence needs, ten MQ-9B predator armed drones were being sought for each of the three services. Officials, who know of the discussions, ruled out any bureaucratic hurdle or regulatory issues involved. The negotiations have lingered on for unknown reasons.
Officials said that the Predator deal once again came up during the meetings that Indian National Security Advisor Ajit K Doval had with top American leadership, including his counterpart Jake Sullivan, during his United States visit.
It is believed that both sides, during the meetings, expressed their eagerness to see that the drone deal is fast-tracked. India wants the MQ-9B Predator armed drones to strengthen its national security and surveillance along the land border with China and the Indian Ocean. As for the Biden administration, a multi-billion dollar deal will help create jobs and be politically beneficial ahead of the next year's presidential elections.
The MQ-9B predator armed drone
According to General Atomics Global Corporation Chief Executive Vivek Lall, the MQ-9B would enable India to carry out a greater range of missions than with any other drone. It can spend more time in the air and operate at a longer range. With their onboard systems, the SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian can deliver full-motion video in virtually any conditions, day or night.
The aircraft also can be customised as per mission. So when carrying a 360-degree maritime search radar, the SkyGuardian can give its operator high-quality maritime domain awareness.
Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and other sophisticated technologies help unlock the rich feed of insight from these aircraft, analyse it and distribute it to those who need it to take quick decisions, Lall said.
The MQ-9B Predator drone can augment naval forces, carry out search and rescue, support customs authorities, help fight wildfires, and take on many other tasks. The multi-role, long-endurance remotely-piloted aircraft is much sought after across the world. Great Britain, Japan, Belgium, and several other nations are either operating or on track to begin flying the Predator, Lall said.
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