US approves sale of 31 armed drones to India

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 : The US on Thursday approved the sale of 31 MQ-9B armed drones to India at an estimated cost of USD 3.99 billion, an American defence agency announced here.

The proposed mega drone deal was announced during the historic State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here in June 2023.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD 3.99 billion,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

The Agency said it has delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Thursday.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defence partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” the agency said.

“The proposed sale will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats by enabling unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in sea lanes of operation,” it added.

Under the deal, India will get 31 High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs, of which the Navy will get 15 SeaGuardian drones, while the Army and the Indian Air Force will get eight each of the land version – SkyGuardian. (PTI)

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