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The deal for procurement of 30 General Atomics MQ-9B sea guardian drones is refusing to take off due to the Indian Air Force and Indian Army showing less interest in the systems due to high cost. Indian Navy which is leading negotiations with the Indian Air Force and Indian Army will be holding crucial talks with the other two branches of the Indian Armed forces to get them onboard by agreeing to place reduced orders from 30 units.

General Electric MQ-9B sea guardian drones are priced around 100 million per unit which IAF and Indian Army find to be too exorbitant to invest for only 10 units for each service. The Navy is trying to work out a reduced number that is agreeable to each service’s requirements.

Indian Navy is keen on maintaining at least four units of MQ-9B sea guardian drones due to the impressive 10,000 flight hours they have accumulated from two leased MQ-9 UAVs in a single year. If talks succeed then each branch might get four of each MQ-9 UAV and the deal might be concluded for 12 units. But the Navy is pushing for 6 units each in total for 18 units deal.

Recently US-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Bharat Forge entered a partnership to produce main landing gear components, sub-assemblies and assemblies for remotely piloted aircraft. The formation of this partnership is a crucial step towards accelerating manufacturing in India.

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