The Indian Navy has leased two MQ-9B segregation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the US amid a border dispute with China in Ladakh. This will increase intelligence, surveillance and enemy’s ability to carry out reconnaissance. The officials associated with this case gave this information on Wednesday. Officials said on condition of anonymity that these drones have been taken on lease for a year.
The high tech UAV pedders are variants of the B drones, produced by the American company General Automix. It is stationed at the Rajali Naval Air Station in Tamil Nadu, where the Indian Navy’s P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft are also stationed. Officials said the UAVs arrived in early November and have engaged in missions since last week.
The MQ-9B is the first military hardware to be leased after the government’s decision to lease equipment for the military. Under the Defense Acquisition Procedure 2020, effective from 1 October, leasing of arms and equipment has been allowed to reduce the expenditure on arms purchases.
Able to operate from an altitude of 40 thousand feet, MQ-9B UAVs can fly continuously for up to 30 hours and are capable of viewing up to 5 thousand nautical miles. With their help, the Indian Navy can monitor a large area in the Indian Ocean. India has planned to deploy 30 such UAVs, including weapons drones.