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US approved Sale of 31 Predator drones to India

Why is it in the news?

  • The United States has granted approval for the sale of 31 Predator drones to India.
  • This approval follows the notification by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency to the US Congress regarding the potential military sale of MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones and associated equipment.

About MQ-9B SkyGuardian Drones

  • MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones are sophisticated aerial vehicles capable of autonomous flight or remote piloting. They possess the capability to carry both lethal and non-lethal payloads, making them versatile assets for various military and surveillance operations.
  • These drones are designed for long-endurance missions, capable of flying over the horizon via satellite for more than 30 hours at a stretch.
  • They are equipped with advanced technology to integrate safely into civil airspace, allowing for joint operations with civil authorities and providing real-time situational awareness.
  • The drones are particularly adept at maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, enabling real-time monitoring and patrolling above and below the ocean’s surface.

Significance of Drone Technology in Defence

  • Drone technology plays a crucial role in defence, offering strategic advantages such as enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. These drones provide real-time visual data that aids in decision-making processes.
  • They also offer tactical benefits, including the ability to conduct precision strikes with minimal collateral damage, improved coordination and logistics in challenging terrains, and reduced risks to personnel compared to manned aircraft.
  • Despite their advantages, drones present challenges such as navigating complex airspace management frameworks, mitigating the impact of adverse weather conditions like strong winds, and addressing concerns related to privacy and safety breaches.


Drone Technology in India

·       India has been actively developing indigenous drone technology for defence purposes. Projects like LAKSHYA and NISHANT, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), represent significant strides in this field.

·       Additionally, DRDO has produced micro and mini-UAVs like Black Kite, Golden Hawk, and Pushpak, along with advanced UAVs like DRDO NETRA and DRDO Rustom, catering to various operational needs of the armed forces.

·       To counter emerging threats posed by unauthorized drone activity, DRDO has also developed counter-drone systems aimed at protecting against potential security breaches.

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