In Two Years, MQ-9as That The Indian Navy Leased Flew 10,000 Hours; Keep Eye On Chinese Deployments In Indian Ocean

The Indian Navy’s leased General Atomics MQ-9A unmanned aerial vehicle reached a major milestone on November 22, 2022.

General Automics said that the aircraft has reached its 10,000th flight hour. This was done by two MQ-9As used by the Indian Navy over a period of almost two years, with the first flight happening on November 21, 2020.

Linden Blue, CEO of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, said that the Indian Armed Forces were impressed by the MQ-9A’s over-the-horizon ISR support for surface units and Indian warships, as well as the platform’s exceptional endurance and operational availability.

“Our MQ-9As have helped the Indian Navy cover an operating area of over 14 million square miles,” he said.

General Atomics leased the MQ-9As to India under a contract called Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO). The Indian Navy uses the aircraft, which is operated by General Atomics.

Several countries use MQ-9As, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. The UK has bought the newer MQ-9B version, and Belgium has placed an order. The Japan Coast Guard has just started using the MQ-9B SeaGuardian configuration for maritime surveillance.

The MQ-9A is a turboprop-powered, multi-mission RPA that was developed by GA-ASI and flew for the first time in 2001. It has a 27-hour endurance, speeds of 240 KTAS, and can operate at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can carry 3,850 pounds, including 3,000 pounds of external stores.

The plane can carry 500% more weight and has nine times as much power as its predecessor. It can stay in the air for long periods of time and keep watching and striking targets.

India got the planes when the standoff with China along the Line of Actula Control in eastern Ladakh was at its worst. The planes have been used to keep an eye on what China is doing in the Indian Ocean area.

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