India Prunes Purchase of 22 American Sea Guardian Drones


India had plans to purchase 22 Sea Guardian drones for the navy, valued
at around $2 billion. Instead, it will be around 12 such drones
according to the new proposal, as the ministry wants to maximise the
utilisation of the limited financial resources available to it, the
source added.

The Indian Defence Ministry will soon approve the
purchase of American Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and
MQ-9 Reapers for the country’s armed forces, but the number of purchase
will be less than what was originally planned last year.

sources have revealed that a formal document will soon be issued to the
US in this regard, after Washington has sent the “price and
availability” details for Sea Guardian, which can carry out
long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance, as well as carry Hellfire
air-to-surface missiles, advanced marine avionics, and laser-guided
bombs.On 17 June, 2016, the Indian Defence Ministry sent a letter of request
(LoR) to the US seeking to purchase 22 MQ-9 Predator B Guardian maritime
patrol remotely piloted vehicles from General Atomics for protection
and vigilance of its maritime assets in the Indian Ocean.

However, the Indian ministry will also ask for a non-maritime version for the army and air force.

Guardian is the maritime variant of the Predator B. It is fitted with a
Raytheon SeaVue multimode maritime radar under its belly that provides
wide-area intelligence and surveillance.
Predator B has an endurance
of over 27 hours, a speed of 240 KTAS, can operate at an altitude of up
to 50,000 feet, and has a 3,850 pound (1,746 kg) payload capacity that
includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) of external stores.

The deal was
put on hold during the last two years, as India did not sign the
communication framework. However, the two countries have expedited the
negotiation since last September, when India signed the Communications
Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which, according to the
joint statement released after the meetings, “will facilitate access to
advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilize its
existing U.S.-origin platforms”.

Dr Subhash Bhamre, India’s
minister of state for defence, informed the Indian Parliament on 20
December 2017 that: “A request for Information (RFI) for Predator ‘B’
Sea Guardian was issued to the US Office of Defence Cooperation on
November 14 and the response is awaited”.

He also informed that the deal does not involve a transfer of critical technology to India.

 sputniknews India Prunes Purchase of 22 American Sea Guardian Drones