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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 22:47 IST

US State Department Approves $3.99 Billion Sale of MQ-9B Drones to India

The DSCA stated that this sale aims to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and enhance India's capability to address current and future threats.

Sagar Kar
MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft
MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft | Image:General Atomics Aeronautical
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In a significant move, the US State Department has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India, involving MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment. The estimated cost of the sale stands at $3.99 billion, according to a statement released by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which is a part of US' Department of Defence. 

The proposed sale includes thirty-one MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft, one hundred sixty-one Embedded Global Positioning & Inertial Navigation Systems (EGIs), thirty-five L3 Rio Grande Communications Intelligence Sensor Suites, one hundred seventy AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, and various other associated equipment and munitions.

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Here is what you need to know

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency stated that this sale aims to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and enhance India's capability to address current and future threats by enabling unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in crucial sea lanes of operation.

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The approval comes as India continues its commitment to modernising its military. Despite the significant investment, the proposed sale is not expected to alter the basic military balance in the region, according to the DSCA.

The principal contractor for this sale is General Atomics Aeronautical Systems based in Poway, CA. The purchaser, in this case, the Government of India, typically requests offsets, and any offset agreement will be determined through negotiations between India and the contractor.

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The implementation of this proposed sale won't adversely impact on US' defence readiness. This development underscores the continued collaboration between the United States and India in the realm of defence and security, supporting India's efforts in modernising its armed forces and enhancing its capabilities in the Indo-Pacific and Indian subcontinent region.

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 22:47 IST

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