SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
The United States Government had approved the foreign military sale (FMS) of the 22 Guardian drones at an estimated cost of $2 billion for Indian Navy last year in June but the Indian government is yet to seal the deal with US Government and as per latest media reports, Indian government Defence Ministry issued letter of request in 2016 maybe re-issued with certain amendments .
New Delhi now favors the acquisition of armed drones instead of unarmed drone from the US and will discuss with Pentagon and Trump administration to amend current offer to include weapons carrying capacity in the requested drones.
In 2016 India had requested Washington to supply as much as 100 General Atomics Avenger along with Predator-B long-range unmanned combat aerial vehicle for Indian Air Force but in 2017 only Unarmed Guardian drones were cleared to Indian Navy. Guardian drone is a maritime variant of the Predator B drone which is equipped with radar and sensors systems, specifically useful for maritime searches but is limited by its roles for reconnaissance purposes only.
Indian Military planners are now in favor of armed drone so that it can boost of ” Hunt and Kill” capabilities. General Atomics manufactured Predator-B can be armed with air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, and laser-guided bombs and is capable of hunting and destroying targets across seas and over land borders.
India is likely to discuss this with Washington during two-plus-two dialogue, but due to India’s plans to procure S-400 Air defense system from Russia, United State officials already have hinted that sale of Armed drone to India will virtually become impossible if India goes ahead and purchase S-400 from Russia.
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