India-US discussions underway for $3.9 Bn MQ-9B drones acquisition

A team from the United States (US) is currently in India engaging in discussions regarding the acquisition of MQ-9B drones by the Indian armed forces.

If finalized, the deal is estimated to be worth $3.9 billion, with 31 drones being acquired, 15 of which will have a maritime role.

The MQ-9B drones are known for their versatility and can be used for various purposes, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat missions.

These remotely piloted aircraft have a long endurance and can operate at high altitudes, making them valuable assets for military operations.

However, negotiations on technology sharing are still ongoing, and the final agreement has not been inked yet.

India is also keen on increasing the local content of the MQ-9B drones to boost indigenous manufacturing efforts in the future.

Once in service, these drones are expected to operate from three planned hubs in India, including INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu, where two leased MQ-9Bs already operate.

The acquisition of these advanced drones will enhance India’s defence capabilities and strengthen its strategic partnership with the United States.