The Ministry of Defence has been approached by the Indian Navy for the acquisition of the American MQ-9 drones, Hindustan Times reported.
In November 2020, The Eurasian Times had reported that two MQ- 9B Sea Guardian UAVs ( a variant of Predator B) had been leased by the navy. They were deployed in the Indian Ocean Region to boost the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance abilities of the service.
The report had also mentioned the possibility of the acquisition of 18 more such drones from the US in the future. It is learned that the navy is satisfied with the performance of the US drones, thereby pushing for its speedy acquisition.
The Predator-B drones will be procured through the US Foreign Military Sales route under a government-to-government agreement. It is expected that 10 MQ-9 Predator-B drones equipped with guided bombs and Hell-Fire missiles will be procured each for the Indian Navy, Army, and the Air Force.
The MQ-9 Drone
Manufactured by General Atomics, the MQ-9 Reaper Hunter/Killer UAV has an operational ceiling of 50,000 ft, an internal payload of 800 lb and its external payload exceeds 3,000 lb.