New Delhi, November 25
The government has taken on lease a pair of one of the deadliest drones in the world from US company General Atomics.
The agreement for one-year lease for the “predator” series drones has been signed directly with the company, official sources said. The Navy has got “Sea Guardians”, a variant used by the US Navy, under “emergency procurement”.
The drones have arrived at the Indian Naval Station INS Rajali, near Chennai. The process for getting 30 such drones in two variants — one for use over land and the other over sea — is underway, the sources said. India could deploy the same in Ladakh and over the Indian Ocean. The move came after the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 incorporated a new category to enable operation of assets without owning them.
An American crew from the General Atomics is accompanying the equipment and will help the Navy operate these. The planning of flights and controls on ground will be with the Indian Navy. The data gathered by the drones will also be the exclusive property of the Indian Navy.
The drones will have significant capabilities for the Navy increasing its domain awareness and ability to maintain a vigil over the areas that stretch from the Gulf in the west to the Malacca Strait in East and vast waters of southern Indian Ocean. — TNS
Can fly for over 30 hrs at stretch
- The drones carry multi-mode radar for surveillance that allows tracking of multiple targets
- These can be armed with anti-submarine weapons or launched to examine an area under surveillance
- The drones, having an endurance of over 30 hours, will relay live images and videos