NEW DELHI, (BM) – India has formally initiated the acquisition of six additional Boeing P-8I Poseidon UAVs, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. As stated, they will be used for information gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance at sea, as well as countering enemy submarines.
According to the Economic Times, the Indian Navy is already using eight P-8I Poseidon aircraft purchased in 2009 to perform these functions. In addition, against the background of aggravated relations with China, a plan is currently being developed for the accelerated procurement of 6 armed MQ-9 Reaper / Predator-B UAVs.
As reported by TSAMTO [news agency – ed.], the Indian government signed a base contract worth about $ 2.1 billion for the delivery of eight P-8I Neptune [Indian designation of the American P-8A Poseidon] and auxiliary equipment in January 2009. To date, all 8 aircraft of the first batch have been delivered and are based at the Rajali airbase (Arakonam, Tamil Nadu).
In July 2016, a second contract worth $ 1.1 billion was signed for the supply of four additional P-8I Neptune multipurpose naval aircraft. They will be delivered starting December 2020.
According to sources in the Economic Times, a letter was recently sent to the United States for the supply of 6 additional P-8Is under the Foreign Military Sales program, totaling about $ 1.8 billion. If the deal is approved by Congress, the parties will sign a proposal and acceptance of the proposal. The contract is expected to be signed by early next year.
The signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) by India and the United States in September 2018 will equip new aircraft with improved systems, including more modern and secure secure communications and data communications.
In addition, against the backdrop of confrontation with Beijing, the Indian Armed Forces are simultaneously studying the possibility of urgent purchase of 6 MQ-9 Reaper / Predator-B UAVs or armed Sea Guardians.
Last year, the Indian Ministry of Defense announced plans to acquire 30 Predator-B UAVs (10 units each for the Army, Navy and Air Force) with various payloads to engage targets.
However, due to the high cost of the deal, exceeding $ 3.5-4 billion, the contract has not yet been signed. A plan to purchase 6 UAVs is currently being discussed – two for each type of Indian Armed Forces.
India is already launching co-production of UAVs with the United States
The US Air Force Research Laboratories have signed an agreement with an Indian startup to jointly research and develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Deputy Defense Secretary Ellen M. Lord said July 21, according to Indian television channel NDTV.
She made this statement at the Ideas for India Summit hosted by the US-India Business Council.
“I would like to emphasize a very interesting project that we are currently negotiating – the joint development of a UAV launched from the air with the research laboratories of the US Air Force, Indian Air Force, Defense Research and Development Organization of India and an Indian startup company,” Lord said.
Also, as we reported on July 5, the Indian armed forces intend to acquire the American-made Predator-B (MQ-9 Reaper) reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
India informed the American side of its interest. The publication notes the relevance of the purchase against the background of the confrontation with China, which is armed with the Wing Loong II strike drone.
The United States has offered India to acquire for $ 4 billion 30 Sea Guardian UAVs, which are unarmed counterparts of the Predator-B intended for the Navy. 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 Predator-B drones, due to a possible leak of technology to Russia, another key supplier of weapons to India.
Indian-made MALE Rustom drones are under development and will not carry strike weapons. However, a number of tests were unsuccessful. The Defense Research and Development Organization of India (DRDO) plans to release a prototype MALE Rustom drone by the end of 2020.
India continues not only to arm itself but also to develop its own technologies
India continues not only to arm itself but also to develop its own technologies, as we many times reported in the last six months.
For example, just a few days ago the Indian media reported that the country’s military-industrial complex has increased the intensity of work on the promising fifth-generation AMCA fighter.
It should be noted that earlier New Delhi abandoned a joint program with Russia to develop an aircraft and launched its own.
In particular, it was reported that the Indian side was unhappy with the lack of stealth technology and previous generation engines. As a result, it was announced about independent work on a promising machine.
It is reported that the first flight of the aircraft has already been announced for 2024. The fighter is planned to be put into service by 2029, and by the 36th year, India is planning to release a modernized version of the combat vehicle.
Many experts were skeptical about the Indian plans and expressed the opinion that by abandoning the joint program with Russia, India itself threw itself away from receiving new aircraft for several years.
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