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Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report

Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAV

Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report

The centre will start the formal acquisition process for the 31 weaponised MQ-9B Reaper drones, also known as Predator-B drones from the US in early July. The Centre aims to sign the actual contract within this fiscal and complete the induction of all the remotely-piloted aircraft systems in phases in over 6-7 years.
The deal for the 31 drones is estimated to cost around $3.5 billion or almost Rs 29,000 crore. As per this deal, 15 Sea Guardians will be inducted into the Navy, eight Sky Guardians each will be inducted into the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, The Times of India reported.
A top defence ministry officer was quoted as saying by the leading daily: “The actionable LoR (letter of request) for the 31 MQ-9B drones will be sent to the US government in the first week of July. This comes after the Rajnath Singh-led defence acquisitions council accorded the AoN (acceptance of necessity) for the deal on June 15”.
These drones will be assembled in India as drone maker General Atomics will tie up with Indian companies to make some components here, as per the officer. The officer added: “The current figure for this is 8-9 per cent but there is scope to increase it to 15-20 per cent”.
The US government will respond to India’s LoR and LoA (letter of acceptance) with the final costing and the required notification to the US Congress under its foreign military sales (FMS) programme. The final contract will only be signed after the final nod from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the officer further noted.
For this purpose, General Atomics will set up a cost-effective and comprehensive maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in India to cater to countries like Australia and Japan as well. Depending on General Atomics’ production capacity, India hopes to induct the first 10 MQ-9B drones within 1-2 years of the contract being signed. The remaining drones will be inducted in batches every 6 months.
The MQ-9B Reaper drones are high-altitude long-endurance drones having strike missiles that can eliminate enemy targets with absolute accuracy. Besides this, these drones will be utilised for long-range surveillance along borders and maritime areas of the country. The drones are equipped with air-to-ground missiles and smart bombs for long-range precision strikes. Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report Govt of India to kick off acquisition of 31 armed Predator drones from the US early next month: Report IgMp

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