Just days after India leased two ‘Sky Guardian’ MQ-9B drones of the ‘Predator-B’ family produced by US company General Atomics, Indian Navy Chief Karambir Singh announced that a case for getting 30 more such drones is being progressed at the level of the Ministry of Defence.
The existing two drones are on lease and belong to what is a ‘pre-production model’. “The ones we will get next are be much more potent in tackling threats, include those from underwater,” Admiral Singh said in New Delhi. He listed out the use of these drones as among the several measures Navy is deploying to tackle under water threats and anti submarine warfare capabilities.
The Boeing P8I is a ‘great force enabler’, the Admiral said. He went on to list how the addition of 24 Multi-role helicopters from Lockheed Martin will add to prowess and the fleet of Kamov-28 Russian ASW helicopters are being upgraded.
IAF objections are answered
India Defence Dialgoue (IDD) has learnt that the objections raised by the Indian Air Force (IAF) have been answered. The deal is on for 30 drones. Possibly of two variants. One for the Navy and the other for the Army and the IAF. India is studying the MQ9B-Sky Guardian and the Sea Guardian. Indian authorities estimate the deal to be between $ 3.5 billion to $ 4 Billion, the figure could vary depending upon the configuration of the UAS chosen.
IDD learns that the IAF was told that this was the future, the Navy and Army were keen on the new technology.
India clear on unmanned
“We have a focus on unmanned systems,” Admiral Karambir Singh said in reply to question on the usage of two unmanned ‘Predator’ drones leased recently from the US company General Atomics.
Predators, he said, are very capable platforms with endurance of 33 hours. Navy is using them for surveillance. The General Atomics is maintaining the drones. The picture – images and videos — generated by the drones comes only to us, he said. Navy will consider deployment of these drones over the Himalayas if Army and IAF ask for it.