Indian Procurement of US Drones (Reaper and Avenger UAVs)

Ashwin

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Tech upgrade: US kicks off procedure to release drones to IAF

The US government has commenced its internal process to release armed Avenger (formerly Predator C) drones to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The acquisition of these machines is strategically important for New Delhi given the region’s geopolitics. Over the last decade, Israeli drones have been procured in significant quantities by all three armed forces.
Sources have told FE: “The much-awaited two-by-two dialogue involving the foreign and defence ministers of both countries (India and US) will consider this topic of armed Avenger drones when they meet in the first quarter of 2018. The meeting, originally planned for January, has apparently been pushed to April.”

As reported by FE earlier, during the US secretary of defence James Mattis’s visit earlier this year, the Indian Army had expressed interest in buying the Avenger UAV from the US-based General Atomics. It was also decided that the request would be added along with that of the IAF. In October, during the annual press meet, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa confirmed that they would be keen to consider if US releases that technology.

Renowned global aerospace expert Dr Vivek Lall who was in charge at Boeing Company a decade ago to bring the then latest technology of P8I for the Indian Navy has been a key figure to continue to cement defence relations with these drone platforms sales which are not offered to any other non NATO countries.

Sources also told FE ‘the US administration and India have larger joint Make in India defence pursuits on the anvil beyond the drone sales as a next step.”

When US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had met in New Delhi in October, it was decided that the new 2-by-2 ministerial dialogue as announced by the US President Donald Trump will take place early next year.

The IAF requires a huge number of drones especially for contested airspace in the years to come. The projection of drone requirements is in the hundreds by all three services and is only limited by prioritisation of defence budget allocations.

The US Air Force and Indian Navy have apparently made significant progress in government to government discussions on the sale of 22 Guardian unmanned aircraft system (UAS) high altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump in June.

It is expected that this deal will be inked in 2018. And the numbers are expected to go up as India is pursuing its Blue Economy and the Navy will be protecting the trade lanes as well as conducting anti piracy operations.

Acknowledging India’s positive contributions to regional security and stability, including in matters beyond the maritime space, both India and US are having further consultations in maritime domain awareness (MDA) area.
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

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Dec 25, 2017
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Tech upgrade: US kicks off procedure to release drones to IAF

The US government has commenced its internal process to release armed Avenger (formerly Predator C) drones to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The acquisition of these machines is strategically important for New Delhi given the region’s geopolitics. Over the last decade, Israeli drones have been procured in significant quantities by all three armed forces.
Sources have told FE: “The much-awaited two-by-two dialogue involving the foreign and defence ministers of both countries (India and US) will consider this topic of armed Avenger drones when they meet in the first quarter of 2018. The meeting, originally planned for January, has apparently been pushed to April.

As reported by FE earlier, during the US secretary of defence James Mattis’s visit earlier this year, the Indian Army had expressed interest in buying the Avenger UAV from the US-based General Atomics. It was also decided that the request would be added along with that of the IAF. In October, during the annual press meet, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa confirmed that they would be keen to consider if US releases that technology.

Renowned global aerospace expert Dr Vivek Lall who was in charge at Boeing Company a decade ago to bring the then latest technology of P8I for the Indian Navy has been a key figure to continue to cement defence relations with these drone platforms sales which are not offered to any other non NATO countries.

Sources also told FE ‘the US administration and India have larger joint Make in India defence pursuits on the anvil beyond the drone sales as a next step.”

When US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had met in New Delhi in October, it was decided that the new 2-by-2 ministerial dialogue as announced by the US President Donald Trump will take place early next year.

The IAF requires a huge number of drones especially for contested airspace in the years to come. The projection of drone requirements is in the hundreds by all three services and is only limited by prioritisation of defence budget allocations.

The US Air Force and Indian Navy have apparently made significant progress in government to government discussions on the sale of 22 Guardian unmanned aircraft system (UAS) high altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump in June.

It is expected that this deal will be inked in 2018. And the numbers are expected to go up as India is pursuing its Blue Economy and the Navy will be protecting the trade lanes as well as conducting anti piracy operations.

Acknowledging India’s positive contributions to regional security and stability, including in matters beyond the maritime space, both India and US are having further consultations in maritime domain awareness (MDA) area.

Source : - Tech upgrade: US kicks off procedure to release drones to IAF
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

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Though someone has moved this discussion to Indian Army UAV Procurement, which i believe should be renamed to Indian Armed Forced UAV Procurement is contains information relevant for all 3 forces (Army, Air Force, Navy).
Also my thread of 120 HALE UAV was more relevant to IAF requirement of 10 sqn Predator C Avenger NG .... but what to say??? guess will have to keep updating IAF UAV updates here, relevant to HALE/Avenger
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

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The army plans to buy high-tech unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to strengthen its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and improve the effectiveness of its military operations.

The force is laying the groundwork for acquiring more than 120 high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs, a senior officer told HT. Such UAVs can fly at over 60,000ft and remain airborne for over 30 hours. The army’s existing unmanned systems’ fleet comprises Heron medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAVs, and the smaller Searcher Mark II tactical drones, both built by Israel Aerospace Industries. Herons can fly at over 35,000ft and feed airborne intelligence for over 45 hours compared to Searchers that operate at 15,000ft for nearly 20 hours.

“The higher you go, the more you see,” said Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (retd), army’s deputy chief till March 2017. “The precision afforded by HALE UAVs comes with top-end technology that can be expensive.”

The army is waiting for local vendors to respond to a request for information (RFI) for 60 short-range remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) that can operate for 10 hours at 15,000ft. India is in talks with US for the possible sale of 22 Guardian UAVs at a cost of $2 billion. An RFI for UAVs, a naval variant of Predator B drones, was issued to the US Office of Defence Cooperation on November 14.

Talks on the UAVs, manufactured by US’ General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, progressed only after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2016. General Atomics chief executive (US and International Strategic Development) Vivek Lall, an American of Indian origin, has spearheaded efforts to allow the export of Category 1 UAVs to the first non-NATO country.

Lall was a part of the Ivanka Trump-led US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad in November.

The IAF has projected a requirement of over 100 US-made Predator C/Avenger armed UAVs. India does not have weaponised drones at the moment.

Source :- Indian Army sets sights on 120 high-tech drones to boost surveillance
 

LoneWolfSandeep

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There is also reports of Indian IAF interested in 80-100 armed Predator C Avenger for $8billion

Source - 1 ) ‘U.S. considering Indian request of armed drones for air force’
2) India Eyes $8 Billion Worth 100 Avenger Predator Drones from US




Early this year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $ 8 billion deal.

The Trump Administration is “considering” India’s request for armed drones for its air force, according to a senior American official.

“Yes, yes,” the administration official told PTI when asked about India’s pending request about the purchase of armed drones as part of its armed forces’ modernisation drive.

The armed drones, the Indian Air Force (IAF) believes, would help it strengthen its defence capabilities.

Early this year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $ 8 billion deal.

The Trump Administration’s consideration in this regard comes months after a successful meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump at the White House on June 26, during which the U.S. announced to sell 22 unarmed Guardian drones to India, which would add the Indian Navy’s surveillance capabilities in the strategic Indian Ocean region.

“We are at ways to, in terms of Foreign military sales, but really also in defence cooperation broadly how to strengthen our relationship and cooperation,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official was responding to questions on defence relationship and India’s quest for high-tech defence equipments and technologies from the U.S. as part of its long overdue armed forces’ modernisation drive running into several hundred billions of dollars over the next decade.

Previous Obama Administration had designated India as major defence partner and the Trump Administration has accelerated the process of considering Indian requests.

“The US Navy and the Indian Navy have been cooperating for many years on counter piracy efforts, on ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and the and Red Sea and the Persian Gulf,” the official said.

“I think that [defence] cooperation is only going to increase based on the need for it to increase and the kind of trust that we are building through personal relationships and through a fundamental understanding that our interests aligned so clearly,” the official said.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that in keeping with India’s status as a major defense partner and their mutual interest in expanding maritime cooperation, the Trump administration has offered a menu of defence options for India’s consideration, including the Guardian UAV.

“We value the role India can play in global security and stability and are prepared to ensure they have even greater capabilities,” Mr. Tillerson had said ahead of his visit to India.

He did not mention about armed drones. He, however, said “the proposals the U.S. has put forward, including for Guardian UAVs, aircraft carrier technologies, the Future Vertical Lift program, and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft, are all potential game changers for our commercial and defence cooperation.

MY take :- PM is interested in having atleast one Big Ticket defence deal with USA - if not F16 then something else like UAV. Unarmed Global Hawks for Indo-Pacific region or armed Predator C Avenger. Guess India be interested more in armed drones, while USA may be willing for unarmed UAV
 

LoneWolfSandeep

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Dec 25, 2017
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Post by @Aashish

@Ashwin

Will clarify here broadly. Please bear with me.

The MALE RFP is part 1 of the actual requirement.

IA MALE Categories are
  • The first category should have an endurance of 25hr and should be controllable on LOS range up to 250 km as well through satellite up to 1000 km.
  • In the second category, an endurance of 10hr and range 250km at LOS is needed.
  • Both categories should have multi-payload capability.
  • Army artillery needs two categories of MALE UAVs for EO/IR, Elint, Commint, SAR roles
  • The second category will go for Rustom/Tapas
  • First category will have a fight out with Hermes 900
IN MALE requirements are
  • MALE UAVs for coastal surveillance up 150nm from the coastline in all weather conditions.
  • 37 nos of such UAVs are required
IAF had not specified the new MALE requirement. May change it based on MII prospects.

All three services have searcher Mk2, heron and heron Tp divided among themselves

For MALE program
  1. Elbit Advanced Systems - manufacture of the Hermes 900 MALE had offered a MII project
  2. This UAV is already in service with Israelis armed forces.
  3. The joint venture will carry out assembly, integration and testing of the UAVs at Mundra, Gujarat which has hangers and airfield other facilities already available for this purpose.
  4. The aim of the project is to meet IA requirements and exports.








For Mini UAVS
  1. Tata Advanced systems is building its own mini UAS project
  2. The aim is to meet Army Infantry’s mini-UAV requirements
  3. The system has been indigenously designed and have sub-systems like autopilot, ground control station and gimbal stabilization.
  4. The system is capable of all terrain operations on 24/7 basis and has features like autonomous mission control and target tracking low noise and has rugged ground control station.

HALE
In HALE category needs are distributed among IN and IAF

IN
  • Indian Navy to carry out surveillance of the Choke points such as Gulf of Aden, Mozambique, and entrance to the Malacca Strait.
  • The first Lot of 22 Guardian B is ordered for that role.
  • IN wants to arm a lot of HALE with ASW capabilities as well as some NG PGMs
  • Eventually, the fleet is expected to grow to 6 squadrons over time. (66-80 drones)
IAF
  • IAF needs of HALE for an approximate 100-120 in nos for a 10 squadron force including reserves
  • Its choice is Predator C Avenger NG Multi-mission drone
  • MTOW of 8200kgs, Length 13m, Wingspan 20m, the Internal payload of 1600 kgs and external 2950 kgs.
  • Primarily will be armed with PGMs. DRDO is tasked for a 1000 KG NG-PGM development as well MKI/Mirage/Rafale/LCA fleet. This homegrown NG- PGM will be deployed in Avengers as well as Naval drones in future, Initially it will be armed with American Munitions only.
  • Presently a file of 40 Predator C Avenger NG Drone is with POTUS for confirmation.
  • It's expected that once we formally sign Guardian drones, this will follow next.
  • Plan is to allow General Atomics identify a local partner for a MII program for Maintenance terms of technology followed by assembling partially few of the later fresh orders.
Also, IN also wants Unmanned Rotary UAV in 2-tonne class. That's a separate program beyond all this.


[will cross-post it in IAF - Chronicles for reference]