India plans to ink a major defence deal with the US to procure 30 armed drones worth $3 billion (approximately Rs 22,000 crore) to enhance military capabilities, sources said. As per plans, India will be acquiring 30 MQ-9 Reaper — 10 each for the three services.
The approval to take these armed drones could be finalised during Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting lead by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
To further cement the deal, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to visit India later this month. India is becoming a strategic defence partner for the US, especially countering Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.
These MQ-9B Predator drones are manufactured by San Diego-based General Atomics. The MQ-9B has an endurance of 48 hours and a range of over 6,000 nautical miles. It carries a maximum payload of 2-tonne.