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Indian Armed Forces after a discussion on their requirements have submitted a report that MQ-9B Predator high altitude long endurance (HALE) armed drones to be procured from General Atomics will be 18 units with each service getting 6 units each that have come down from the initial assessment of 10 units per service branch in total for 30 units.

MQ-9B Predator which will cost India a whopping $100 million per unit has seen resistance from Indian Army and Air Force due to cost while Indian Navy was firm to induct 10 units into its service and was heading the intra-service negotiations.

Indian Army was in favour of acquiring more Heron TP drones from Israel which the Indian Army already operates that were procured for $40 million per unit while the Indian Air Force was keen to back locally developed Tapas Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV and Archer-NG Armed MALE UAV for its requirements.

Indian Navy already operates 2 Unarmed Sea Guardian HALE UAS on lease from General Atomic for broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS) that last 3 years logged 10,000 flight hours and has come as a major boost to the Navy’s Surveillance capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) at times of growing assertiveness of the Chinese Navy in the area.

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