Security Issues

India will purchase MQ-9 Predator drones

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has authorised the purchase of armed Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for more than $3 billion.
  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a US-based aeronautical corporation, will supply the UAVs.

Overview of Predator Drones

  • The MQ-9 is the name given to GA-ASI’s Predator UAV
  • It has a maximum endurance of nearly 27 hours, a top speed of 240 KTAS, and a range of up to 50,000 feet.
  • It can carry external storage weighing up to 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilogrammes) and has a payload capacity of 3,850 pounds (1,746 kilogrammes).

Benefits and Capabilities of the MQ-9 UAV

  • When compared to its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-9 UAV has a greater payload capacity and horsepower.
  • It gives the warfighter with lengthy endurance, constant monitoring, and strike capabilities.
  • The MQ-9 UAV’s marine derivative, known as Sea Guardian, has a range of more than 30 hours.

Increasing the Capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces

  • The acquisition of MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will improve the Indian Armed Forces’ Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
  • These long-endurance, high-altitude drones will be able to collect intelligence, hit strategic targets in mountains and maritime areas, and support various military operations.
  • The Indian Armed Forces are anticipated to get a total of 31 MQ-9s, with the Navy receiving 15 and the Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) receiving eight apiece.

India has previously used MQ-9 UAVs

  • The Indian Navy leased two MQ-9 UAVs in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley battles in 2020, and the lease has since been extended.
  • The rented UAVs have completed 10,000 flight hours and have substantially aided the operations of the Indian Navy.

MQ-9 UAV International Use

  • The United States Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Royal Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the French Air Force, and the Spanish Air Force have all purchased the MQ-9 UAV.
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