India's plan to get 31 MQ-9B Predator drones from the United States meets success as the US Congress has cleared the ‘tiered review’ of the sale, Hindustan Times reported.
While the Predator drone manufacturer General Atomics and the high-level officials of the Narendra Modi government have been informed about this clearance, the official Congressional notification is expected to be submitted within 24 hours.
Of these 31 drones, the Indian Navy is poised to get 15, while the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force will get eight each of high altitude long endurance drones.
"The drone deal is a proposed sale that was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit last year. We believe it offers significant potential to further advance strategic technology cooperation with India and military cooperation in the region," US State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said.
The Navy has already been operating two MQ-9Bs on lease from US-based General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc since mid-2020, following the clash in the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh.
The Navy is highly impressed with the capabilities of the drone, so much so that the two MQ-9Bs completed 10,000 hours of flying in just two years.
Even the Indian Army utilised the drone's real-time imagery capabilities, when the Navy’s drones were deployed along the line of actual control, to keep an eye on Chinese deployment.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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