New Delhi: – India has expedited the process for purchase of MQ-9 drones, proved to be effective in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen conflicts, from the United States. India will be signing an agreement, for purchase of 30 MQ-9 drones, worth $3 billion and six drones will be commissioned in the defence forces on an immediate basis. The officials in the Indian Navy are claiming that this deal will be a ‘Game Changer’ for India.
Some important meetings have been held, regarding the MQ-9 drones, between the officials from the defence forces of both the countries. It is being said that India will receive these drones in 3 months. Two drones each will be deployed with the Army, Navy and the Airforce. Whereas, the media claims that the remaining 24 drones will be purchased over the next three years and will be deployed in the defence forces. Therefore, ten drones each from the MQ-9 drones’ family will be deployed in the Army, Navy and the Airforce.
India and the United States have been discussing the agreement for MQ-9 drones, since the last three years. In 2017, Indian Navy was to purchase 22, Sea Guardian version, of the MQ-9 drones. But in 2018, the United States expressed willingness to supply Army version of the MQ-9 drones to India. After that, the purchase process was started by India. It is being reported that this issue featured even during the Two-Plus-Two talks between the two countries.
These drones came to be known as ‘Soleimani Killer’ after they were used in operation to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. These drones can carry ‘Electro-Optical/ Infrared Multimode Radar’, ‘Multimode Maritime Surveillance Radar’, ‘Laser Designator’ etc. These drones are considered to be more lethal than the 8I-Poseidon and MH 60R Multirole helicopters. It will make it easy for the Indian Navy to track destroyers and submarines, in the Indian Ocean region. MQ-9 is capable of hitting a target precisely from 45,000 feet. The drone can fly continuously for 35 hours. The officials from the defence forces said that these drones would track and neutralise enemy targets, up to the Gulf of Aden, Strait of Malacca and Ladakh.