SOURCE: Satyajeet Kumar/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator C Avenger remotely piloted aircraft is again back in the news after General Atomics President David R. Alexander confirmed that unnamed foreign country is interested in acquiring as many as 90 Avengers and the most likely prospective buyer in question would be the Indian Air Force.
Since 2009, Avenger which has accumulated over 13,000 flight hours has been under evaluation process by US Air Force but still has failed to conclude any orders. General Atomics believes that Big order from a foreign buyer could eventually open the door for US Air force and US Navy contracts and prices of the platform will make it further more affordable.
But Question still remains why Indian Air force is still keen on acquiring Predator C Avenger remotely piloted aircraft even though US Military has been noncommittal on the procurement of this remotely piloted aircraft in the first place? Well, a platform like Predator C Avenger is much suited for countries like India which will need to use it Airpower in its immediate vicinity rather than in another continent.
Predator C Avenger usings it’s stealthy Charatests will be able to perform long-range surveillance to penetrating strike and electronic warfare missions. Avenger can also be used as a multi-role medium altitude, medium endurance wide-area surveillance platform which can be deployed in higher threat environments.
Modular, reconfigurable sensor pods of Predator C Avenger can create an Air Defence Network Grid which can provide wide-area surveillance up to 18-20 hours at a stretch. According to General Atomics, 12 Predator C Avenger controlled by just 3 Ground Control Station Pilots can be used for enforcing an Air Defence Network Grid which can detect and notify operators of any threats.
Predator C Avenger in its Deep Penetration Strike Role can perform time-sensitive strike missions over land or sea in highly contested air defence sector thus reducing danger to manned platforms.
General Atomics’third-generation 150-kW range airborne tactical laser weapon module can also be carried on Avenger unmanned aircraft. HELLADS is a tactical laser weapon to counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CRAM), counter-air and counter-Missile applications it is still not clear if India will be supplied with HELLADS.
U.S. State Department recently approved the sale of MQ-9B Guardian to the Indian Navy. Raytheon SeaVue multi-mode radar mounted on MQ-9B Guardian remotely piloted aircraft will bring in-game changer Maritime Wide Area Surveillance Capability in the Indian Ocean and addition of Predator C Avenger with Indian Air Force will come as a force multiplier for both Surveillance and Deep Penetration Strike Role in the sub-continent.