- The Indian Navy rented two MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics in 2020 to keep an eye on the Indian Ocean for a year.
- The Indian Navy has been improving its surveillance system to keep track of the growing number of Chinese activities
India is talking with the US about buying predator drones, which were used to kill the leader of al-Qaeda in Kabul last month. People familiar with the situation said on Sunday that India is in talks with the U.S. to buy 30 armed MQ-9B drones for more than $3 billion. This would help India improve its surveillance along its border with China and in the Indian Ocean region.
The MQ-9B drone is a version of the MQ-9 “Reaper,” which was used to fire a modified Hellfire missile that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last month in the middle of Kabul.
Officials in the defence sector said that talks are going on between New Delhi and Washington for the two governments to buy drones made by General Atomics. They denied rumours that the deal was off the table.
The CEO of the General Atomics Global Corporation, Dr. Vivek Lall, said that talks between the U.S. and Indian governments about the MQ-9B acquisition programme are well along.
“If you have questions about these talks, you should ask the governments in question. From a business point of view, General Atomics is ready to help India and appreciates our long relationship “Dr. Lall added.
The hunter-killer drones are being bought because they can do a lot of different things, like keep an eye on the sea, fight against submarines, and target things over the horizon.
The high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) drones can stay in the air for more than 35 hours and can carry four Hellfire missiles and about 450 kg of bombs.
The Indian Navy rented two MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics in 2020 to keep an eye on the Indian Ocean for a year. The length of the lease has since been made longer.
The Indian Navy has been improving its surveillance system to keep track of the growing number of Chinese activities, such as the PLA warships’ frequent visits to the Indian Ocean Region.
When asked about the two drones, Dr. Lall said they worked “very well” and flew for close to 3,000 hours to help the Indian Navy reach its goals of patrolling the sea and land borders.
“Over the past three years, General Atomics has helped India by leasing two MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft as part of a Company Owned/Company Operated (COCO) deal,” he said.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed
Ayman al-Zawahari took over as leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed. On July 30, the CIA killed him in a “precision strike” in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. “Justice has been done, and this terrorist is dead,” said President Joe Biden.
Even after 11 years, when the US killed bin Laden in Pakistan, Zawahiri was still a well-known symbol of the group around the world. He was killed by a drone strike on a house in Kabul where he was hiding until he could see his family again.