India Will Buy 30 Armed Drones Worth $3 Billion From US Under Major Defence Deal

30 MQ-9 Reaper Armed UAV
30 MQ-9 Reaper Armed UAV

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.

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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.

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It comes with nine hardpoints, capable of carrying sensors and laser-guided bombs besides air-to-ground missiles.

Last month, Indian Army Chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, highlighted the role of drones in military warfare.