US approves possible sale of 31 armed drones to India

The US State Department has approved a potential sale of 31 armed MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones and related missiles and equipment to India for an estimated $3.99 billion, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

India has long expressed interest in buying large, armed drones from the United States, but bureaucratic stumbling blocks have hampered a hoped-for deal.

Thursday’s approval by the State Department does not mean the deal is a sure thing, but demonstrates progress.

Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington last June, the Biden administration had pushed New Delhi to cut through its own red tape and advance a deal.

Currently, India is leasing a few MQ-9Bs as part of an intelligence-gathering operation.

The deal includes sophisticated communications and surveillance equipment, 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles and 310 Laser Small Diameter Bombs, a precision glide bomb.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will be the principal contractor, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Thursday.

Related Articles

Back to top button