India is in the process of finalizing a significant defense deal with the United States. According to reliable sources, the agreement involves the purchase of 31 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from General Atomics (GA). This deal is expected to enhance India’s military capabilities significantly.
- India is set to acquire 31 MQ-9B UAVs from GA, with deliveries starting from February 2027, three years after the contract’s signing.
- The deal’s estimated cost is $3,072 million, and it follows the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.
Division Among Forces
- The 31 drones are allocated for different branches of the Indian military: 15 for the Indian Navy and 8 each for the Indian Army and Air Force.
- In June, the Ministry of Defence approved the acquisition, sending a Letter of Request (LoR) to the U.S. government.
- The U.S. will respond with a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), which will detail the equipment and terms of procurement under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
Facility in India
- General Atomics plans to establish a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India.
- While the exact location is not confirmed, Bengaluru is a likely choice.
Final Approval Steps
- The U.S. Congress will be notified about the sale, a standard procedure.
- The deal will then need approval from India’s Cabinet Committee on Security before becoming official.
MQ-9B Drone Capabilities
- These drones, in Sky Guardian and Sea Guardian variants, offer enhanced Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for the Indian armed forces.
- They can fly at long ranges, communicate via satellite for up to 40 hours, operate in diverse weather conditions, and safely integrate into civil airspace.