Defence Ministry is making all necessary preparations to acquire 30 General Atomics MQ-9B Guardian drones from the United States (US) which is going to be a major boost to Indian armed forces.
The transaction is likely to be valued at approximately $3 billion. An ‘acceptance of necessity’ (AON) for 30 drones is expected to be placed before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
The MQ-9 is a satellite-steered drone which can float in the air as high as 45,000 feet, and stay in continued service for as long as 35 hours in a single stretch. It uses radar and electronic support to locate the enemy.
The deal for these drones is to take place in two parts. The first part would include six MQ-9 drones worth $600 million in total which will be purchased in an outright fashion over the coming months and two each of which will then be distributed among the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
Meanwhile, the second part of the deal would include 24 drones, eight out of which will be provided to each of the three forces. However, the Indian Navy has been made the lead service for the acquisition.