Indian Military UAV Procurment Programs

Ashwin

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The armed forces, behind the curve on weaponised drones, are rushing to fill the gap through imports. The tougher ask, though, is to develop an indigenous ecosystem for these must-have platforms.​

 

Ashwin

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India Resists U.S. Pressure to Buy Armed Drones as Trump Looks for Foreign Policy ‘Wins’


THE U.S. PRESSURED India to purchase sophisticated armed drones during a high-level meeting between top officials this week but was not successful, officials confirm to U.S. News, robbing President Donald Trump of a sought-after foreign policy "win" in the waning days of his reelection bid.
The State Department has already cleared the way for India to purchase MQ-9 Reaper drones, which have become prolific in American-led counterterrorism wars and which U.S. officials believe would perform a critical role in better preparing India's army for the kind of deadly border clashes with China that have escalated in recent months.

Multiple current officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirm that the sale was at the top of the agenda for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper going into their trip to India earlier this week to meet with their local counterparts, the latest in a series of high-profile summits known as the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
However, India, at least for now, refused.

The sale, like many weapons deals the president has previously touted, would have served as a sterling example of the domestic and foreign policy doctrine Trump has espoused. It would enable another country to carry out a White House foreign policy goal, in this case the foundational promise Trump has stressed in recent weeks of deterring and containing China. And following the Air Force's announcement earlier this year it plans to transition away from relying on the MQ-9 as it prepares for its own potential confrontations with Russia and China, a new deal with an economic powerhouse like India would secure American jobs at the General Atomics assembly plant for the Reaper in California.
It would also serve as a symbolic step toward incorporating more American hardware into India's arsenal and move away from the Russian and Soviet equipment that currently comprises much of it – a key goal of the Pentagon's as it continues to court a greater alliance with the South Asian powerhouse.
"For a customer like India, we get a strategic bang for our buck and at the same time we get the economic benefits," says Karl Kaltenthaler, a professor at the University of Akron who frequently advises various elements of the U.S. government on drone policy and other security matters. "This is a good story in that we're keeping American jobs, we're sticking it to China."

Pushing for an MQ-9 sale to India also meets a set of requirements that have become a new reality for the national security elements of the government during this administration: It achieves a goal set by the Pentagon, is easy to sell the president and does not conflict with Trump's vision of the world or his style of leadership.
"For the Trump administration, this issue is much more a political one rather than a strategic one," Kaltenthaler says. "And this is one of those cases where Trump's incentives or motivations for doing this don't conflict with the Pentagon."

It was not immediately clear why the Indian government declined the U.S. offer at this time, and its Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.
However, multiple sources familiar with the discussions and speaking on the condition of anonymity cited the expense of these drones – which as of last year cost roughly $16 million each. They also say New Delhi plans to hold out for a larger and more comprehensive arms package at some point in the future, but certainly not before Election Day next week.
The State Department declined to answer questions on-record about why it was so eager for India to agree to the sale, or criticism that the timing of the U.S. pressure amounted to an attempt to grant Trump a foreign policy "win" in the lead-up to next week's election.
A spokesperson speaking on the condition of anonymity says the U.S has "strived to meet India's defense requirements in recent years," and noted that "defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades."

"As of 2020 the United States has authorized more than $20 billion in defense sales to India," the spokesperson says, adding that the country maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States.
At the summit this week, the four senior officials signed a much-anticipated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, a significant achievement that formalizes future military and intelligence cooperation between the two powers.
And Esper indicated in public remarks that the prospect of drone sales in the future, as well as other military equipment, remains a likelihood.
"Our defense trade and technology cooperation continues to grow, as reflected in India's acquisition of Apache and Seahawk helicopters earlier this year," the defense secretary said at a press conference with the other officials. "We look forward to advancing sales for other key defense platforms, including fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial systems."
Trump has made arms sales a central component of his foreign policy and routinely boasts about how he perceives their benefit. Early in his administration, Trump sped up the approval process for arms sales abroad by reducing oversight, prompting widespread concern. In April 2019, Trump withdrew from an international weapons pact that had previously bolstered efforts to limit the spread of arms globally, saying it undermined American sovereignty.
 
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Ankit Kumar

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Nov 30, 2017
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Predator and MQ9 are different. Hopefully Navy releases a press release giving clarity.

But a big step and good use of Lease system. Was not expecting this. UAVs have lower insurance costs to be used in conflict zone. So makes financial sense.

National Bird of some country we know. Hopefully good stocks of Hell fire from EDA stacks has been bought too.
 
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Defc0n

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Sep 8, 2019
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Predator and MQ9 are different. Hopefully Navy releases a press release giving clarity.

But a big step and good use of Lease system. Was not expecting this. UAVs have lower insurance costs to be used in conflict zone. So makes financial sense.


National Bird of some country we know. Hopefully good stocks of Hell fire from EDA stacks has been bought too.

I don't think it is predator, it is MQ9 - Reaper. Most likely ANI mixed it up.
However, 2 is a very very small number to make any difference in the battle field. But yes, a step in the right direction.
We need more of these.
 

Ankit Kumar

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
2,308
2,099
Bangalore
I don't think it is predator, it is MQ9 - Reaper. Most likely ANI mixed it up.
However, 2 is a very very small number to make any difference in the battle field. But yes, a step in the right direction.
We need more of these.
With 2 UAVs , if they come with a maritime surveillance radar , then 24 plus hours of endurance means that with 2 only the Navy can start supplementing P8I immediately.

If not, and they come with Hell fires , then they are for LoC.
 

Defc0n

Well-Known member
Sep 8, 2019
607
673
India
With 2 UAVs , if they come with a maritime surveillance radar , then 24 plus hours of endurance means that with 2 only the Navy can start supplementing P8I immediately.

If not, and they come with Hell fires , then they are for LoC.


Yeah, the first case, if it comes with maritime radar, it is useful.
But for the second case, its count will be a huge drawback like I stated above.
 

Ankit Kumar

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
2,308
2,099
Bangalore
Yeah, the first case, if it comes with maritime radar, it is useful.
But for the second case, its count will be a huge drawback like I stated above.
The emergency powers limits the amount spent, if it's for use with hell fire, we will see similar lease agreements for 2/3 more UAVs by IA and IAF each very soon.
 
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Ashwin

Agent_47
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
4,253
6,926
Bangalore
Predator and MQ9 are different. Hopefully Navy releases a press release giving clarity.

But a big step and good use of Lease system. Was not expecting this. UAVs have lower insurance costs to be used in conflict zone. So makes financial sense.


National Bird of some country we know. Hopefully good stocks of Hell fire from EDA stacks has been bought too.
They want Sea Guardian nothing else.
 

RISING SUN

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Dec 3, 2017
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Indian Army to get drones from Israel, America for surveillance along China border​

NEW DELHI: In a major boost to its capabilities, the Indian Army is soon going to get Israeli Heron and American mini drones for upgrading its surveillance capabilities in Eastern Ladakh and other areas along the China border.

"The deals for the acquisition of the Heron surveillance drones is in the final stages and is expected to be inked in December. The Herons are going to be deployed in the Ladakh sector and they will be more advanced than the existing fleet in the Indian armed forces," government sources were quoted as saying by ANI.

The acquisition of these drones is being done under the emergency financial powers granted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to the defence forces under which they can buy equipment and systems worth ₹500 crores to upgrade their warfighting capabilities, amid ongoing border conflict with China, they added.

According to sources, the other small or mini drones are being acquired from the US that will be provided at the Battalion level to the troops on ground and the hand-operated drones would be used to attain awareness about a specific location or area in their respective areas of responsibility.

The Indian defence forces have been taking these initiatives to acquire weapon systems which can help them in the ongoing conflict with China. The last time such a facility was given to the defence forces was in 2019 right after the Balakot air strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan.

Using the same facility, the Indian Navy has leased two Predator drones which have been taken from American firm General Atomics.

The Indian Air Force had exercised the same powers to acquire a large number of Hammer air to ground standoff missiles with a strike range of around 70 kilometres.
 

raghu1974

Member
Nov 19, 2020
113
83
Phoenix, AZ USA

Indian Army to get drones from Israel, America for surveillance along China border​

NEW DELHI: In a major boost to its capabilities, the Indian Army is soon going to get Israeli Heron and American mini drones for upgrading its surveillance capabilities in Eastern Ladakh and other areas along the China border.

"The deals for the acquisition of the Heron surveillance drones is in the final stages and is expected to be inked in December. The Herons are going to be deployed in the Ladakh sector and they will be more advanced than the existing fleet in the Indian armed forces," government sources were quoted as saying by ANI.

The acquisition of these drones is being done under the emergency financial powers granted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to the defence forces under which they can buy equipment and systems worth ₹500 crores to upgrade their warfighting capabilities, amid ongoing border conflict with China, they added.

According to sources, the other small or mini drones are being acquired from the US that will be provided at the Battalion level to the troops on ground and the hand-operated drones would be used to attain awareness about a specific location or area in their respective areas of responsibility.

The Indian defence forces have been taking these initiatives to acquire weapon systems which can help them in the ongoing conflict with China. The last time such a facility was given to the defence forces was in 2019 right after the Balakot air strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan.

Using the same facility, the Indian Navy has leased two Predator drones which have been taken from American firm General Atomics.

The Indian Air Force had exercised the same powers to acquire a large number of Hammer air to ground standoff missiles with a strike range of around 70 kilometres.
India needs another private version of DRDO. We should encourage private companies to setup R&D facilities for specific Arms and should be encouraged with government backed seed funding to establish these facilities. Too much dependency on DRDO has lead to delays and we are way too behind in the Drone technology. We should start manufacturing Rustom - 2 in the next 1-2 years, without which we will end up spending a lot of $$$ in imports.