MQ-9B Predator Deal to be Signed in Next Few Months: Navy Chief

Indian Navy

Estimated Cost of MQ-9B Drones

Visakhapatnam: Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar  February 18 said the all-important deal for buying 31 Predator drones from the US has been cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council and is expected to be signed in the next few months.

“We are the lead servers who are steering it. The letter of request has been cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council and the letter of request has gone to the US government. They have given us a draft letter of availability. Now the final one will come. It has to be placed before the (the US) Congressional committee thereafter it will come,” he said.

The Navy chief said, “We hope that it will be taken forward and we hope to sign the contract maybe in a few months ahead.” He said that there is a lead time for it to be manufactured and delivered. So the first aircraft may not come before 36 months.

India and the US are in talks to sign the Predator drone deal in which 31 birds would be acquired of which 15 would be operated by the Indian Navy while 8 each would be flown by the Indian Army and Air Force. The deal is expected to be worth around US$ 4 billion and would include weapons and other equipment required for operations.

As Admiral Kumar reaffirms, protecting national interests in the maritime domain remains paramount, underscoring the Navy’s unwavering dedication to safeguarding the seas.

On ‘MILAN 24, he added, “a new era of maritime cooperation, where nations unite to navigate the complexities of the maritime domain, ensuring that the oceans remain safe, secure, and free–a testament to the enduring spirit of collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Eastern Naval Command posted on X, extending a warm welcome for Corvette 20 of the Vietnam People’s Navy and USS Halsey (DDG-97) of the United States Navy,  “Naval vessels from Vietnam and the United States have arrived in Visakhapatnam for the MILAN 2024 maritime exercise,” the post on X remarked. Moreover, the 12th edition of the MILAN exercise will be held from February 19 to 27 in Visakhapatnam and will see the participation of over 50 countries.