India intends to acquire American MQ-9 Reaper attack drones

NEW DELHI, (BM) – American-made Predator-B reconnaissance and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Predator-B (MQ-9 Reaper) intend to acquire the armed forces of India, learned citing Hindustan Times.

Read more: The Indian Tejas Mk1 light combat fighter goes into service

India informed the American side of its interest. The publication notes the relevance of the purchase against the backdrop of a confrontation with China, which is armed with an attack drone Wing Loong II.

The United States offered India to buy 30 $ Sea Guardian UAVs, which are unarmed MQ-9 Reaper analogues intended for the navy, for $ 4 billion. However, Indian military experts believe: if you buy such an expensive weapon, then in a full-fledged strike version.

According to the publication, the United States may be afraid to supply MQ-9 Reaper drones, due to the possible leakage of technology to Russia, another key supplier of weapons to India.

Indian-made MALE Rustom drones are under development and will not carry shock weapons. However, a number of tests were unsuccessful. The Defense Research and Development Organization of India (DRDO) plans to release a prototype of the MALE Rustom drone by the end of 2020.

More about MQ-9 Reaper [Predator-B]

UAV Predator B was created on the basis of the successful multi-purpose UAV RQ / MQ-1 Predator from General Atomic Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI). The work needed by Predator B was launched privately in 1998, but was partially funded by NASA. The first flight of the prototype took place in February 2001.

3 prototypes of the YMQ-9A were released:

  • Predator B-001 – the first modernization of the MQ-1 Predator UAV. A turboprop engine (712 kW) is installed on it. The visual difference from the MQ-1 is the wings, they are increased from 14.8 m to 20 m. B-001 can carry 340 kg. payload at an altitude of 15.2 km., at a speed of 390 km / h. Flight time up to 30 hours.
  • Predator B-002 – the next upgrade of the UAV. Carrying capacity 215 kg., Top ceiling height 18.3 km., Flight time 12 hours.
  • Predator B-003 or Altair – the wingspan is again increased to 25.6 m. Therefore, the increased UAV carrying capacity is up to 1360 kilograms, and the maximum flight height is 15.8 km. Flight time increased to 36 hours!

Read more: India bought single-engine Tejas fighter jets totalling $5,5B

UAV Predator B is an enlarged version of the RQ / MQ-1 Predator. The main difference is the “more traditional” V-tail, which has a positive V-shape. GA-ASI tested the Predator B prototypes with two different engines. The first one is the Honeywell TPE-331-10T engine, and the second is the Williams FJ44-2A turbofan engine. Predator Equipment.

B is basically identical to the RQ / MQ-1 equipment, and consists of the Raytheon AN / ASS-52 (V) wide-range infrared optical-electronic aiming system and the General Atomics synthesized aperture AN / APY-8 Lynx.

The Predator B can also be used as a multipurpose combat complex, armed with ATGM AGM-114C / K Hellfire and other guided weapons. UAV control equipment is compatible with the MQ-1B ground equipment.

After successful experiments with the armed RQ-1, the idea arose to develop the use of weapons from the Predator B. In February 2003, the Predator B UAV, in the version with a theater, was designated MQ-9A Reaper.

And at the end of the year, the US Air Force purchased two prototype UAVs YMQ-9A. Military tests of these machines were conducted. YMQ-9A demonstrated high, very superior performance of its “parent”. UAVs were shown to be in the air for up to 24 hours at an altitude of 13,700 m, and according to GA-ASI, the maximum flight duration is 30 hours.

The latest unmanned aircraft MQ-9 Reaper according to the classification of the US Air Force belongs to the category of “killer hunters” – aircraft capable of tracking the target and destroying it.

The MQ-9 Reaper is capable of carrying up to 14 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, while the now widely used Predator unmanned aircraft is armed with only two such missiles. If necessary, instead of missiles, the MQ-9 Reaper can carry 4 AGM-114 Hellfire and two laser-guided bombs – GBU-12 Paveway II of 250 kilograms each.

A fully loaded MQ-9 Reaper can be continuously in the air for 14 hours and has a maximum speed of 480 kilometers per hour, while the maximum speed of the Predator aircraft does not exceed 215 kilometers per hour.

Read more: India plans to invest heavily in five wide-range Russian combat jets

On May 18, 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a certificate of compliance, which allows the MQ-1 and MQ-9 to fly in US airspace designed for civilian traffic.

For the US Navy, an unmanned vehicle based on the Reaper, called the “Mariner,” is being created. This device will have folding wings, an increased fuel supply, which will allow the drone to be in flight for 49 hours.

In August 2008, the U.S. Air Force completed the re-equipment with unmanned aerial vehicles MQ-9 Reaper of the first combat air unit – the 174th fighter wing of the National Guard.

Rearmament took place over three years. Impact UAVs have shown high efficiency in Afghanistan and Iraq. The main advantages over the replaced F-16s are: lower purchase and operation costs, longer flight duration, operator safety and the possibility of their shift work during long flights.

India bought MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia recalls that the Indian Ministry of Defense has approved on July 2 the purchase of 21 MiG-29 fighters from the Russian Federation to strengthen the country’s air force’s combat readiness.

As the PTI news agency reports citing sources, such a decision was made on Thursday at a meeting of the Defense Procurement Council, which was chaired by the head of the Indian military department Rajnath Singh.

According to the agency, the Indian Air Force will also purchase an additional 12 Su-30MKI aircraft, which are produced by the Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under a Russian license.

In addition, the Ministry of Defense approved the proposal to modernize 59 MiG-29 fighters already in service with the country, PTI points out. The agency emphasizes that the decision to purchase and modernize the aircraft was taken against the backdrop of a worsening relationship between India and China.

Read more: France will deliver Rafale fighter jets to India without delay

According to the Indian government news agency PIB, the cost of purchasing from Russia 21 MiG-29 fighters and upgrading 59 aircraft of this type will be about $ 980 million, and the acquisition of 12 Su-30MKI will be about $ 1.35 billion.

India limits the purchase of other Sukhoi Su-30MKI to 12 aircraft only

Om May 12 this year the Indian state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that it kas completed the Russian-licensed production of all 272 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighters ordered by New Delhi.

The company also lso boasting a turnover for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 to 3 billion dollars, with growth for the second consecutive year of about 7%.

According to the newspaper News Bharati, the company now expects to receive further orders from the Indian Air Force: the HAL has even submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defense for the supply of an additional order for the assembly of another 72 Su-30MKI licensed at a cost of approximately $ 5 billion (approximately $ 70 million per aircraft).

Recall however that in July last year the Indian Air Force (IAF) would have activated itself for the purchase of only 18 new Su-30MKI fighters, a figure further lowered to 12 aircraft by the new head of the IAF Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.

Read more: Russia warned India that Rafale fighter will not help them against China

Internal sources also say that the Indian Air Force also refused to install a new engine in the modernization program of the Su-30MKI hunting fleet known as “Super Sukhoi” again due to the aforementioned lack of funds.

France will deliver Rafale fighter jets to India without delay

The French side will deliver Rafale military aircraft to India without delay, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said May 24.

The Ambassador of France noted that there is no reason for concern about the delivery of aircraft, because France strictly complies with the deadlines for the supply of fighter jets.

Recall that in September 2016, India and France signed an agreement amounting to 7.87 billion Euros for the supply of 36 Rafale multirole fighters. New fighters were expected to land in India in the last week of May, but the Indian Air Force command did not receive confirmation from Dassault Aviation.

We also recall that previously there were reports that France will not fulfill the contract on time in connection with the epidemic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

The Indian Tejas Mk1 light combat fighter goes into service

The Indian Air Force on May 27 at the Sulur airbase (Tamil Nadu) held an official ceremony to commission the first LCA Tejas Mk.1 light combat aircraft in full combat readiness standard (FOC).

According to The Hindu, at the same time, the ceremony of launching the operation of the Tejas LCA aircraft took place in the second unit – the 18th air squadron of the 3rd air wing.

According to the Indian Air Force commander Marshal of the Air Force Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadaurii, in the standard of readiness for combat use, the LCA “Tejas” additionally has the ability to refuel in the air, melee weapons (GSH-23 double-barreled gun), additional discharged fuel tanks, and air-launched missiles with a long-range, updated software package and flight management system.

Read more: India bought 21 MiG-29 fighters and began upgrading 59 available of them


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