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US Clears Proposed Delivery of MQ-9Bs to India

Sky guardian aircraft

The United States has approved a request from the Indian government to purchase a fleet of MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft.

Details of the proposed $3.99 billion Foreign Military Sale deal have been submitted to Congress for approval, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

India’s request includes the acquisition of 31 MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft, 161 embedded global positioning and inertial navigation systems, 35 L3 Rio Grande communications intelligence sensor suites, 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 16 M36E9 Hellfire captive air training missiles, 310 GBU-39B/B laser small diameter bombs and eight GBU-39B/B LSDB guided test vehicles.

The deal also involves the delivery of associated hardware and software components, including elements of logistics and program support, to help Indian military forces operate and maintain the armed drones efficiently, DSCA said.

The arms sale supports the United States’ policy of helping build partner countries’ defense capabilities to safeguard regional stability and security.

“The proposed sale will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats by enabling unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in sea lanes of operation,” DCSA said.

In a related report, NDTV said the government-to-government deal, six years in the making, was finalized following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States in June 2023.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. will fulfill the contract requirements, delivering 15 drones to the Indian Navy and supplying the Army and the Air Force with eight units each of MQ-9B.

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