According to a US government official, the country is willing to sell weaponised drones made by American companies to India, signalling broader defence cooperation between the two countries, reports The Hindu BusinessLine (BL).
“I think weaponised drones are on the table, I think the original purchase was for surveillance but those are platforms known as the Predator. The Sea Guardian is basically an unarmed Predator that is kitted out for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and things like that,” said Vikram J Singh, Senior Advisor for Défense and Aerospace at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
General Atomics manufactures the Sea Guardian drones and if both the countries approve the deal, it will be the first of its kind sale from the US to a state that is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
“This platform has 4 million hours in combat, will be able to certifiably fly in Indian civilian airspace and can remain airborne more than a record setting forty hours. Additionally, it has a 40,000-hour design life demonstrating its unique resilience,” Vivek Lall, CEO US and international strategic development, General Atomics had earlier said.
“India has the intent to buy the Sea Guardian and some other versions of a drone made by General Atomics for long endurance surveillance of the borders and the maritime space,” added Singh.
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