Brahmand NewsPrevious Article
Brahmand NewsNext Article

Major defence deals to be announced as India, US enter next-gen partnership: White House

The MQ-9 Reaper combat drone produced by General Atomics. (Photo: PTI)

WASHINGTON (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden will on Thursday announce a mega deal on the purchase of General Atomics MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ armed drones by India, the White House has said, a move which would further bolster India's national security and surveillance capabilities not only in the Indian Ocean but also along the frontier with China.

The General Atomics MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ can carry 500 per cent more payload and has nine times the horsepower in comparison to the earlier MQ-1 Predator. Moreover, MQ-9 UAV provides long-endurance, persistent surveillance and strike capability for the warfighter.

The MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS, can operate up to 50,000 feet, and has a 1,746-kg payload capacity that includes 1,361-kg of external stores, according to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI).

“With regards to the Sea Guardian, Yes. I think that's going to be announced by the leaders tomorrow (Thursday). India is committing to the purchase of the MQ-9 Reaper armed UAVs,” a senior administration official said ahead of the meeting between the two leaders.

“We are delighted about that because I think that's going to substantially grow India's ISR capability which I think is incredibly important and useful to them, both on their posts, above the sea and on their borders,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the joint statement will have some specific initiatives on the US side to streamline and support some of the innovations bureaucratically that have existed and have inhibited some of the deals in the past.

“I think what you've seen over the last several months has been a dedicated effort to ensure that we will be able to move ahead with the GE engines and I think the Indians, to be honest, have been surprised and thrilled by the steps that we've been able to take to remove bureaucratic roadblocks from achieving this goal,” said the official.

“We fully recognise that it's going to be necessary to follow through. You will see it on display... is a determination to ensure that our deeds will subsequently live up to words,” said the official.

MQ-9 Reaper is a highly sophisticated drone built on the experience gained with the company's battle-proven Predator RPA and is a major evolutionary leap forward in overall performance and reliability, according to GA-ASI.

On June 15, India's Ministry of Defence approved the procurement of 30 MQ-9B Predator armed drones from the US under a government-to-government framework. It was reported that the nearly US$ 3 billion deal is expected to be announced following talks between Prime Minister Modi and US President Biden in Washington.

The procurement of the weaponised 'hunter-killer' drones from General Atomics was cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Sea Guardian Predator drones are being procured to crank up the surveillance apparatus of the Indian armed forces, especially along the frontier with China.

In February, it was reported that India and the US are keen for an early conclusion of the 30 predator armed drones deal at a cost of over US$ 3 billion, which will help New Delhi strengthen its overall surveillance apparatus along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Ocean.

During National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit K Doval's visit to the US in February, this issue was discussed during his meetings with top American leadership, including his counterpart Jake Sullivan.

During the meetings, it is believed that both sides expressed their eagerness to see that the drone deal is fast-tracked. India is eager that an early decision that would help it get an early delivery of the predator-armed drones would strengthen its national security and surveillance capabilities not only in the Indian Ocean but also along the LAC.

Other Related News

ISRO developing semi-cryogenic engine working on liquid oxygen kerosene

ISRO has said it is developing a 2,000 kN (kilonewton) thrust semi-cryogenic engine working on a Liquid Oxygen (LOX) Kerosene propellant combination for enhancing the payload capability of Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3) and for future launch vehicles.

BRAHMOS Missile Systems


Brahmand World Defence Update 2023

Brahmand World Defence Update

Image Gallery