New Delhi: – India has expressed keenness in purchasing Predator-B drones from the United States. India has demanded these drones, which have become famous as ‘Soleimani Drones’, from the United States and India plans to have them deployed in all three wings of the defence forces. It is being said that this decision has been taken given the situation on the China and Pakistan borders.
China is using Wing Long drones on the Ladakh border. There are reports that China is giving four Wing Long drones to Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan is preparing to sign an agreement to produce 48 Wing Long drones. Although it is said that these drones are being given to Pakistan for the security of the CPEC project, it is exposed that the actual consideration is India. Against this background, India has started efforts to purchase Predator-B drones.
The United States had expressed willingness to supply Guardian drones, which is a naval version of the Predator-B, only for surveillance purpose. This will be a deal worth $4 billion and the Indian Navy is carrying out negotiations for the deal. But the Indian defence forces are keener on the armed Predator-B and it is reported that the government has started making preparations to purchase these drones for all the defence wings, after receiving a request from the military.
It is being claimed that these drones capable of flying very high, dodging radars and equipped with missile and a laser-guided bomb, will be very effective in the arduous terrain on the Chinese as well as Pakistan borders. The drone capable of 230 KMPH speed with a range of 1150 miles, can fly at the height of 50,000 feet and can carry more than 4,700 kilograms of load. Therefore, if India gets these drones, it will enhance the military capabilities tremendously.
The United States has used these drones, also known as ‘MQ-9 Ripper Drone’, very effectively in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. This was the drone used in the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani.
The United States had cleared the path to supply sensitive technology to India, with the signing of COMCASA agreement, two years ago. It was reported that the United States was considering selling Predator-B drones to India under this agreement. Following the tension with China in Ladakh, India has renewed its demand.