India seeks armed drones from the US: report
To strengthen its air defense, India is planning to import armed Predator Avenger drones from the US, Bloomberg reports.
If approved, it will be buying these fast machines manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
The move may upset Pakistan as the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has toughened its stand on Islamabad.
Defense ties between Washington and New Delhi have been growing fast over the past two years. India was the second-largest buyer of US arms in 2014.
Siemon Wezeman, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a group that monitors arms transfers, expressed his surprise over the pace of growth in the defense ties between India and the US.
The approval for supply of Avengers is unlikely to face any hitch as the US on Sept. 22 had supported India’s membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Two days later, the India’s Air Force sending a letter to San Diego-based General Atomics expressing its interest to buy Avenger, according to a copy seen by Bloomberg.
Air Force officials, however, declined to comment on the letter.
Avengers could help India forces to target Pakistani soldiers, infiltrators and terror cells operating within and outside India’s border.
They can fly for 18 hours, carry 3,500 pounds of munitions and reach an altitude of 50,000 feet. They can reach anywhere in Pakistan.
Pakistan has one drone developed by China. But its range and payload is limited.