India has finalised the plan to acquire 30 weaponised Sea Guardian (or Predator-B) drones in yet another proposed mega defence deal with the US, even as New Delhi remains steadfast about going ahead with its deal inked for the Russian S-400 Triumf missile systems despite mounting pressure from the Trump administration.
Top sources say the tri-service procurement proposal for the Sea Guardian remotely piloted aircraft – with 10 drones each for the Navy, IAF and Army to hunt and destroy targets on land and sea – is now “being vetted” before it is sent to the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) for approval.
Once this “acceptance of necessity” is granted by the DAC, India will issue “the letter of request” to the US for the government-to-government deal under Pentagon’s foreign military sales programme. “Several rounds of bilateral discussions have already taken place. It should take about a year for the actual contract to be inked,” said a source. India is already in an advanced stage to acquire 24 naval multi-role MH-60 “Romeo” helicopters for $2.6 billion and the National Advanced Surface-to Air-Missile System-II for almost $1 billion, with the contract for the former set to be inked by September-October. Read more