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Navy, Army and IAF finally agree to procure armed drones from US in $3 bn deal

Hephaestus

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The Navy, Army, and IAF's decision comes just days before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's visit to India later this month.


New Delhi: Impressed with the performance of the two leased Sea Guardian drones, the Navy, Army and the Air Force will finally jointly procure 30 armed versions of the American unmanned aerial system in what could be a $3 billion deal, ThePrint has learned.

The decision comes just before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to India later this month. Austin’s visit could be a precursor to the impending meet of the ‘Quad’ leaders — US, India, Australia, and Japan — which is likely to be held soon.



According to sources in the defense and security establishment, initially one of the three services was not on board about procuring the armed predator drones but now all three are finally on the same page.

They added that the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) could take a final decision on this “soon”.

If approved, this would be the first tri-service procurement since Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was appointed to steer the Indian armed forces into a more united force, both in terms of operational doctrine and procurement.

The erstwhile Trump administration had expected the deal for 30 armed drones to be announced at the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue in New Delhi on 27 October 2020. However, India did not succumb to the hard American push to seal the deal then.

India to procure armed version of Sea Guardian drones
In 2018, the US had offered India the armed version of the Guardian drones, which were originally authorized for sale as unarmed and for surveillance purposed.


India was earlier eyeing both the unarmed Sea Guardian drones for the Navy and the armed Predator B for attack options, but there was a growing feeling that both surveillance and attack could be done by the same drone.

This was because of the prohibitive price involving American drones. The Navy had initially planned for 22 Sea Guardians which were priced at over $2 billion but then brought down the number to just 12.


However, since all the three services wanted weaponized drones, a decision was taken to jointly pursue the deal.


According to the deal, India will be acquiring 30 MQ-9 Reaper or Predator B, 10 each for the three services.


The MQ-9B has an endurance of 48 hours and a range of over 6,000 nautical miles. It comes with nine hard-points, capable of carrying sensors and laser-guided bombs besides air-to-ground missiles, with a maximum payload of two tonnes.

The Navy, which is the lead agency for procurement of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs, will seek the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) from the DAC.

In November last year, ThePrint had reported that the Navy had inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease under emergency procurement.

According to sources, the Navy is really impressed with the two UAVs it took on lease from the US firm General Atomics.

Other contracts
This development comes as India pursues ‘Project Cheetah’, under which a Rs 5,500 crore contract is being taken up to upgrade the ‘Heron’ medium-altitude long-endurance drone fleet with all three services into an armed one.

The Navy is also pursuing another contract for 10 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System, for which American firm Boeing is the front runner.

It is also looking at leasing minesweeper vessels and helicopters, as reported in December last year.

In an earlier interview to ThePrint, Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, had said that they are in talks with the Navy to lease out Panther helicopters for its warships, as the force looks at bridging the capability gap it faces when it comes to the rotary-wing.

Drones
 

Hephaestus

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1) France: 16 unarmed MQ-9 for $1.5 billion in 2013.
2) Italy: 4 MQ-9 for $330 million in 2008.
3) Belgium: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million in 2019.
4) UAE: 18 MQ-9B for $2.97 billion.
5) Taiwan: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million.
 

Yasser76

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The Navy, Army, and IAF's decision comes just days before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's visit to India later this month.


New Delhi: Impressed with the performance of the two leased Sea Guardian drones, the Navy, Army and the Air Force will finally jointly procure 30 armed versions of the American unmanned aerial system in what could be a $3 billion deal, ThePrint has learned.

The decision comes just before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to India later this month. Austin’s visit could be a precursor to the impending meet of the ‘Quad’ leaders — US, India, Australia, and Japan — which is likely to be held soon.



According to sources in the defense and security establishment, initially one of the three services was not on board about procuring the armed predator drones but now all three are finally on the same page.

They added that the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) could take a final decision on this “soon”.

If approved, this would be the first tri-service procurement since Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was appointed to steer the Indian armed forces into a more united force, both in terms of operational doctrine and procurement.

The erstwhile Trump administration had expected the deal for 30 armed drones to be announced at the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue in New Delhi on 27 October 2020. However, India did not succumb to the hard American push to seal the deal then.

India to procure armed version of Sea Guardian drones
In 2018, the US had offered India the armed version of the Guardian drones, which were originally authorized for sale as unarmed and for surveillance purposed.


India was earlier eyeing both the unarmed Sea Guardian drones for the Navy and the armed Predator B for attack options, but there was a growing feeling that both surveillance and attack could be done by the same drone.

This was because of the prohibitive price involving American drones. The Navy had initially planned for 22 Sea Guardians which were priced at over $2 billion but then brought down the number to just 12.


However, since all the three services wanted weaponized drones, a decision was taken to jointly pursue the deal.


According to the deal, India will be acquiring 30 MQ-9 Reaper or Predator B, 10 each for the three services.


The MQ-9B has an endurance of 48 hours and a range of over 6,000 nautical miles. It comes with nine hard-points, capable of carrying sensors and laser-guided bombs besides air-to-ground missiles, with a maximum payload of two tonnes.

The Navy, which is the lead agency for procurement of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs, will seek the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) from the DAC.

In November last year, ThePrint had reported that the Navy had inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease under emergency procurement.

According to sources, the Navy is really impressed with the two UAVs it took on lease from the US firm General Atomics.

Other contracts
This development comes as India pursues ‘Project Cheetah’, under which a Rs 5,500 crore contract is being taken up to upgrade the ‘Heron’ medium-altitude long-endurance drone fleet with all three services into an armed one.

The Navy is also pursuing another contract for 10 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System, for which American firm Boeing is the front runner.

It is also looking at leasing minesweeper vessels and helicopters, as reported in December last year.

In an earlier interview to ThePrint, Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, had said that they are in talks with the Navy to lease out Panther helicopters for its warships, as the force looks at bridging the capability gap it faces when it comes to the rotary-wing.

Drones

Bizarre how intense inter service rivalry still is in India. All three services had the exact same requirement for the exact same number of drones at the exact time?

Unless they have some joint traning, maintnence, control command this wilk duplicate everything they need to operate these by 3
 

GHALIB

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The Navy, Army, and IAF's decision comes just days before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's visit to India later this month.


New Delhi: Impressed with the performance of the two leased Sea Guardian drones, the Navy, Army and the Air Force will finally jointly procure 30 armed versions of the American unmanned aerial system in what could be a $3 billion deal, ThePrint has learned.

The decision comes just before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to India later this month. Austin’s visit could be a precursor to the impending meet of the ‘Quad’ leaders — US, India, Australia, and Japan — which is likely to be held soon.



According to sources in the defense and security establishment, initially one of the three services was not on board about procuring the armed predator drones but now all three are finally on the same page.

They added that the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) could take a final decision on this “soon”.

If approved, this would be the first tri-service procurement since Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was appointed to steer the Indian armed forces into a more united force, both in terms of operational doctrine and procurement.

The erstwhile Trump administration had expected the deal for 30 armed drones to be announced at the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue in New Delhi on 27 October 2020. However, India did not succumb to the hard American push to seal the deal then.

India to procure armed version of Sea Guardian drones
In 2018, the US had offered India the armed version of the Guardian drones, which were originally authorized for sale as unarmed and for surveillance purposed.


India was earlier eyeing both the unarmed Sea Guardian drones for the Navy and the armed Predator B for attack options, but there was a growing feeling that both surveillance and attack could be done by the same drone.

This was because of the prohibitive price involving American drones. The Navy had initially planned for 22 Sea Guardians which were priced at over $2 billion but then brought down the number to just 12.


However, since all the three services wanted weaponized drones, a decision was taken to jointly pursue the deal.


According to the deal, India will be acquiring 30 MQ-9 Reaper or Predator B, 10 each for the three services.


The MQ-9B has an endurance of 48 hours and a range of over 6,000 nautical miles. It comes with nine hard-points, capable of carrying sensors and laser-guided bombs besides air-to-ground missiles, with a maximum payload of two tonnes.

The Navy, which is the lead agency for procurement of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs, will seek the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) from the DAC.

In November last year, ThePrint had reported that the Navy had inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease under emergency procurement.

According to sources, the Navy is really impressed with the two UAVs it took on lease from the US firm General Atomics.

Other contracts
This development comes as India pursues ‘Project Cheetah’, under which a Rs 5,500 crore contract is being taken up to upgrade the ‘Heron’ medium-altitude long-endurance drone fleet with all three services into an armed one.

The Navy is also pursuing another contract for 10 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System, for which American firm Boeing is the front runner.

It is also looking at leasing minesweeper vessels and helicopters, as reported in December last year.

In an earlier interview to ThePrint, Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, had said that they are in talks with the Navy to lease out Panther helicopters for its warships, as the force looks at bridging the capability gap it faces when it comes to the rotary-wing.

Drones
very nice
 

akshay gehlot

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Bizarre how intense inter service rivalry still is in India. All three services had the exact same requirement for the exact same number of drones at the exact time?

Unless they have some joint traning, maintnence, control command this wilk duplicate everything they need to operate these by 3
This is exactly the opposite of inter service rivalry , This is them finally cooperating and streamlining purchases under a single umbrella , This is the first tri service aquistion and made possible by the new CDS

Initially the IAF wanted precision strike capable armed predator drones , The Navy was after unarmed MQ9B surveillance drones and the army wanted armed drones in support configuration . All of them had their own requirements and demands

The time takes and cost of fulfilling all 3 with different products would be ludicrous , As such the CDS pshed for agreement between the 3 services , They found that Mq9B could do all of their required tasks up to an acceptable level and decided to try it out

In 2020 India leased 2 MQ9B's and each service got to examine and try its capabilties for themselves and with all service chiefs being please by its performance they agreed to go for a joint purchase .

As far as commonality bw training and maintainence and command goes then I don't know if you've heard yet but India is shifting to theatre commands where assets of different services will fall under a theatre commander and will be shared for greater operability

So in the North both army and AF's air assets will fall under "Air Defence " command and in South the Navy and AF's air assets will fall under "Maritime Command" based in Karwar
 
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drumstick

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The Navy, Army, and IAF's decision comes just days before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's visit to India later this month.


New Delhi: Impressed with the performance of the two leased Sea Guardian drones, the Navy, Army and the Air Force will finally jointly procure 30 armed versions of the American unmanned aerial system in what could be a $3 billion deal, ThePrint has learned.

The decision comes just before US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to India later this month. Austin’s visit could be a precursor to the impending meet of the ‘Quad’ leaders — US, India, Australia, and Japan — which is likely to be held soon.



According to sources in the defense and security establishment, initially one of the three services was not on board about procuring the armed predator drones but now all three are finally on the same page.

They added that the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) could take a final decision on this “soon”.

If approved, this would be the first tri-service procurement since Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was appointed to steer the Indian armed forces into a more united force, both in terms of operational doctrine and procurement.

The erstwhile Trump administration had expected the deal for 30 armed drones to be announced at the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue in New Delhi on 27 October 2020. However, India did not succumb to the hard American push to seal the deal then.

India to procure armed version of Sea Guardian drones
In 2018, the US had offered India the armed version of the Guardian drones, which were originally authorized for sale as unarmed and for surveillance purposed.


India was earlier eyeing both the unarmed Sea Guardian drones for the Navy and the armed Predator B for attack options, but there was a growing feeling that both surveillance and attack could be done by the same drone.

This was because of the prohibitive price involving American drones. The Navy had initially planned for 22 Sea Guardians which were priced at over $2 billion but then brought down the number to just 12.


However, since all the three services wanted weaponized drones, a decision was taken to jointly pursue the deal.


According to the deal, India will be acquiring 30 MQ-9 Reaper or Predator B, 10 each for the three services.


The MQ-9B has an endurance of 48 hours and a range of over 6,000 nautical miles. It comes with nine hard-points, capable of carrying sensors and laser-guided bombs besides air-to-ground missiles, with a maximum payload of two tonnes.

The Navy, which is the lead agency for procurement of HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs, will seek the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) from the DAC.

In November last year, ThePrint had reported that the Navy had inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease under emergency procurement.

According to sources, the Navy is really impressed with the two UAVs it took on lease from the US firm General Atomics.

Other contracts
This development comes as India pursues ‘Project Cheetah’, under which a Rs 5,500 crore contract is being taken up to upgrade the ‘Heron’ medium-altitude long-endurance drone fleet with all three services into an armed one.

The Navy is also pursuing another contract for 10 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System, for which American firm Boeing is the front runner.

It is also looking at leasing minesweeper vessels and helicopters, as reported in December last year.

In an earlier interview to ThePrint, Rémi Maillard, president of Airbus India and the company’s managing director for South Asia, had said that they are in talks with the Navy to lease out Panther helicopters for its warships, as the force looks at bridging the capability gap it faces when it comes to the rotary-wing.

Drones
news of the day
 

Robbie

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This is excellent. Particularly for the Navy.

@Bilal Khan (Quwa) , this is an interesting acquisition. Do you think that 10 MQ9B SeaGuardian would be able to fill the requirements for the IN? Consider the background.

IN has been very focused lately on increasing its maritime domain awareness and doing it without fanfare (relative to the airforce). The acquisitions and capability acquired over the last decade have been in multiples of what they have historically had. The P-8 is a quantum leap over the Soviet technology they historically had access to, not to mention the availability rates of the P-8 are significantly higher than what the Tu's and IL's had. The MH-60R is an upgrade on similar lines. The capability (and numbers/availability) they bring are an order of magnitude higher than what was possessed before.

Their initial plan was to acquire around 18 P-8I's (long-range MPA) and around 10 medium-range MPA. Boeing pitched P-8 lite and some others too pitched in. Ultimately Navy decided to scrap this tiered system as not being cost-effective (another platform vs capability). They have, so far, ordered 12 P-8s. I believe strong budgetary constraints will mean no new orders (though there is an off chance that they order more as the CDS has been pretty wowed by the P-8's. They were one of the primary instruments of surveillance during both the Doklam and Laddakh standoffs).

In light of this, do you think the MQ9B fills the medium-range patrol, a different requirement, or is this a costly experiment?
 
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Robbie

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1) France: 16 unarmed MQ-9 for $1.5 billion in 2013.
2) Italy: 4 MQ-9 for $330 million in 2008.
3) Belgium: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million in 2019.
4) UAE: 18 MQ-9B for $2.97 billion.
5) Taiwan: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million.
Would not be wise to compare because the deals are not public. The details of the support package are not known and dramatically influence cost.
 
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akshay gehlot

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$100m per aircraft? There must be an error, or that's just insane
Not really , Its standard or just below standard for this platform depending on what support infra ,specifications , supplementary packages etc are involved .

1) France: 16 unarmed MQ-9 for $1.5 billion in 2013.
2) Italy: 4 MQ-9 for $330 million in 2008.
3) Belgium: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million in 2019.
4) UAE: 18 MQ-9B for $2.97 billion.
5) Taiwan: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million.

Dividing the total amount by number seems simple but doesn't always give the most accurate prices of an individual platform
 

Yasser76

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No you genius .. This is exactly the opposite of inter service rivalry , This is them finally cooperating and streamlining purchases under a single umbrella , This is the first tri service aquistion and made possible by the new CDS

Initially the IAF wanted precision strike capable armed predator drones , The Navy was after unarmed MQ9B surveillance drones and the army wanted armed drones in support configuration . All of them had their own requirements and demands

The time takes and cost of fulfilling all 3 with different products would be ludicrous , As such the CDS pshed for agreement between the 3 services , They found that Mq9B could do all of their required tasks up to an acceptable level and decided to try it out

In 2020 India leased 2 MQ9B's and each service got to examine and try its capabilties for themselves and with all service chiefs being please by its performance they agreed to go for a joint purchase .

As far as commonality bw training and maintainence and command goes then I don't know if you've heard yet but India is shifting to theatre commands where assets of different services will fall under a theatre commander and will be shared for greater operability

So in the North both army and AF's air assets will fall under "Air Defence " command and in South the Navy and AF's air assets will fall under "Maritime Command" based in Karwar
Listen "genius", if the drones are of the exact same standard some may be ill suited for maritime work as opposed to strikes overland. Having a theatre command does not mean joint training/maintenance, it simply means a single operational command, any idiot knows that.

The standard MQ9 in strike fit does not have a maritime search radar or sounbouy dispensers.

This was a tug of war between the services. Same way IAF ends up with 22 Apaches and IA ends up with 6.


Maybe think before you come up with cock and bull reasons to defend any stupid thing India does and also insult posters on here
 

rent4country

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Listen "genius", if the drones are of the exact same standard some may be ill suited for maritime work as opposed to strikes overland. Having a theatre command does not mean joint training/maintenance, it simply means a single operational command, any idiot knows that.

The standard MQ9 in strike fit does not have a maritime search radar or sounbouy dispensers.

This was a tug of war between the services. Same way IAF ends up with 22 Apaches and IA ends up with 6.


Maybe think before you come up with cock and bull reasons to defend any stupid thing India does and also insult posters on here
General Yassar...why on earth would they need sonarbuoys if they have the greatest submarine hunters in their inventory- ALA over 2 dozen P8-I's? plus two leased Sea Guardian drones.

Btw, Maritime MQ9B has Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) configurations
 
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akshay gehlot

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Listen "genius", if the drones are of the exact same standard some may be ill suited for maritime work as opposed to strikes overland. Having a theatre command does not mean joint training/maintenance, it simply means a single operational command, any idiot knows that.

The standard MQ9 in strike fit does not have a maritime search radar or sounbouy dispensers.

This was a tug of war between the services. Same way IAF ends up with 22 Apaches and IA ends up with 6.


Maybe think before you come up with cock and bull reasons to defend any stupid thing India does and also insult posters on here
And who pray told you that we'll be using "standard " strike fit for maritime roles ? ..Just because the base platform is one doesn't mean each service will use the exact same variant set up with the same parameters , That's common sense ....Although maybe that's not common enough for posters here .

Just because armed versions were also included doesn't mean every drone has to be set up for strike instead of surveillance

We're well aware of the Sea Guardian variant and have already used it before , We've also signed the agreements that allow a higher standard of communications, radar, ISR tech transfer so that the Boeing P8 -I , MH-60 Romeo and other platforms of the Navy can work together with the MQ9B and share information .



IAF ,IA and IN have long since operated platforms where the base is same but have been fine tuned or modified differently for their ideal specifications .


Also don't take my explanation for the logic behind the deal to mean that i support it , Its a very competent product and will be very useful but I would have preferred the money to go more high priority buys than this
 

GHALIB

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Listen "genius", if the drones are of the exact same standard some may be ill suited for maritime work as opposed to strikes overland. Having a theatre command does not mean joint training/maintenance, it simply means a single operational command, any idiot knows that.

The standard MQ9 in strike fit does not have a maritime search radar or sounbouy dispensers.

This was a tug of war between the services. Same way IAF ends up with 22 Apaches and IA ends up with 6.


Maybe think before you come up with cock and bull reasons to defend any stupid thing India does and also insult posters on here
genius ,
we have professionals who can judge what is beneficial and at which cost arms should be purchased .
 

Turcici Imperium

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Not really , Its standard or just below standard for this platform depending on what support infra ,specifications , supplementary packages etc are involved .

1) France: 16 unarmed MQ-9 for $1.5 billion in 2013.
2) Italy: 4 MQ-9 for $330 million in 2008.
3) Belgium: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million in 2019.
4) UAE: 18 MQ-9B for $2.97 billion.
5) Taiwan: 4 MQ-9B for $600 million.

Dividing the total amount by number seems simple but doesn't always give the most accurate prices of an individual platform
That's still insane. Per MQ-9 costs like $15m to produce by the company, basicly rest of the cash is pure profit.
 

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