- Both Sea Guardian and Sky Guardian can do over-the-horizon targeting, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, airborne mine countermeasures
- The three operational centers, with help from the future theater commanders and the permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, will figure out the roles for each task.
People who are familiar with the situation say that India’s purchase of 31 high altitude long endurance (HALE) drones from the US will be done in stages. The first step will be to learn how to use the technology, and the first batch of 10 drones will not have weapons. Also, three tri-service intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance command centers will be built, one in the south and two in the north, with a focus on India’s northern borders, especially the one with China.
On June 15, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), which is led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, gave its approval to a tri-service plan to buy 31 drones from the US, including 15 MQ9B Sea Guardians and 16 Sky Guardians. The Sea Guardian drones will be used for maritime monitoring and domain awareness, while the Sky Guardian drones will be used to guard the land borders. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the US this week, the $3 billion purchase will be approved through US foreign defense sales or the government-to-government route.
India and the US are about to take a big step forward in their relationship, but the first shipment of drones will only have ten of them. Weapons and rockets will be sent later. People who know about the subject said that all of the drones will have hardpoints or be able to carry missiles and laser-guided bombs.
The government of Narendra Modi won’t buy all of the drones and weapons off the shelf. As part of the deal, Indian-made weapons will also be able to be put on the drones, which is called “localization.” HT has found out that getting rockets and bombs for the drones will be the second step of the whole deal, since not all of the drones need to be armed. People who asked not to be named also said that it’s possible that not all drones will be made in the US.
India rents two Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics and uses them from the INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu. The military has also used a HALE drone with a 40-hour battery life. The Indian Navy is happy with how the drones it has rented are working. These drones give the Indian Navy real-time information about the seas from Southeast Asia to Africa.
Both Sea Guardian and Sky Guardian can do over-the-horizon targeting, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, airborne mine countermeasures, long-range strategic surveillance, electronic warfare, defensive counter air, airborne early warning, and can help with law enforcement, disaster relief, and search and rescue missions.
People say that all 31 drones will be run by a tri-service command and won’t be split up in the same way. The three operational centers, with help from the future theater commanders and the permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, will figure out the roles for each task.