The MQ-9B Predator drone deal between India and America has now moved forward. After the approval of the US Parliament, the Biden government has issued a notification. India wants to buy 31 killer drones from America so that the MQ-9B equipped with missiles can easily conduct operations against submarines hidden on the surface and under the sea. India is purchasing this drone aircraft at a time when the activities of the Chinese Army from the Indian Ocean to Ladakh are increasing rapidly. Not only this, Pakistan is also purchasing killer drones on a large scale from China and Turkey. This entire drone deal is going to be worth around $4 billion. This is the reason why questions have started being raised regarding the price of drones. Experts say Predator drones are more expensive than the French Rafale and the American F-35 fighter jet.
India will get Hellfire missile
Many weapons and sensors are also included in the $4 billion drone deal with America. India is purchasing a total of 31 MQ-9B Sky Guardian drone aircraft. Of these, 15 drones will be given to the Indian Navy and the remaining drones to the Indian Army and Air Force. With this deal, India has also signed an agreement for Hellfire missiles and Laser Small Diameter Bomb. These drone aircraft will be equipped with AESA surveillance radar. Negotiations regarding this drone agreement have been going on between India and America for the last decade. In view of its huge cost, India had earlier decided to take it in less number but now it has been again reduced to 31.
India had purchased two Sea Guardian drones on lease from America and with its help monitored the Chinese army in the Himalayas during the Galwan violence in 2020. According to General Atomics, the American company that manufactures this drone, the MQ-9B Sky Guardian drone can fly in the air for more than 40 hours in all types of weather. With this, monitoring can be done all the time, whether day or night. After this deal, questions are being raised regarding the price of MQ-9B drone. Not only this, according to the report, the Indian Air Force had at one time raised questions about the capability of this drone aircraft against the war preparations of Pakistan and China.
American drone is more expensive than Rafale and F-35!
Both China and Pakistan have deadly surface-to-air missiles which are a big threat to this drone. Apart from this, the price of this Predator drone was also raising questions about the entire deal. That too when India is in dire need of everything from fighter aircraft to state-of-the-art tanks and warships for the Navy. In such a situation, questions were raised about spending so much money to buy a drone. According to Vijendra K Thakur, a defense analyst who has been an Indian fighter plane pilot, Reaper drones like MQ-9 are beneficial for low capacity war, but if there is a war with China and Pakistan, then it will not be of low capacity and in such a situation these drones are very useful. Will not be effective.
Thakur said that even after this, India is paying 99 million dollars for an MQ-9B drone. Whereas India had given 98 million dollars for a Rafale aircraft. Whereas the price of an American F-35 fighter jet is 89.2 million dollars and the price of Sukhoi 35 is 42 million dollars. If we talk about Russia’s most modern fighter jet Sukhoi 75, then the cost of one aircraft is only 30 million dollars. However, not everyone agrees with Vijendra Thakur. Retired Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha tells EuroAsian Times that a fighter plane has to be refueled several times during a single mission but the Reaper drone can fly for longer distances. With this, fighter jets will be free and will be able to carry out other missions.