India And US To Finalise MQ9B Predator Drone Deal For USD 3 Billion?

MQ-9B Predator drone. Image Credit: The Rage
MQ-9B Predator drone. Image Credit: The Rage

Under the inter-governmental framework, India will likely finalize a historic deal to purchase 31 MQ-9B Predator armed drones from the US by March. The US Congress is expected to approve the supply of these drones in the next few weeks.

Sources said US and Indian officials would hold final talks on the purchase after receiving a response from Washington on India's Letter of Request (LoR) for purchasing drones from major US defence company General Atomics (GA). To strengthen the surveillance network of the armed forces (especially along the Line of Actual Control with China), India is purchasing these 'hunter-killer' drones capable of flying for long periods.

Predator Armed Drones Price:

The price of the drones will be finalized during negotiations, but it is estimated that they will cost around US $3 billion. According to sources, the agreement will be between India and the US government as per due process, and the Pentagon will inform General Atomics about the requirements of the Indian armed forces. 

The issue of India's proposed purchase of drones is understood to have come up between Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's conversation. 

Notably, in 2020, the Indian Navy leased two MQ-9B Sea-Guardian drones from General Atomics for one year for surveillance in the Indian Ocean. The lease period was later extended. India-US defence cooperation has increased over the years.

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