After leasing two predator drones from the US, the Indian Navy is now going to urgently acquire 10 shipborne drones for enhancing its surveillance capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region, for which it has received the government approval recently.
“A proposal moved in fast track mode by the Indian Navy before the Defence Ministry, under which it will buy 10 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial Systems for around Rs 1,300 crores has been cleared by the government,” government sources told ANI.
The Navy will acquire these drones through an open bid under the Buy Global category and then soon deploy them on its large size warships for surveillance and reconnaissance activities.
As per the plans of the Navy, the drones would be deployed on big size warships of the force and would help them in the detection of activities of the Chinese as well as other adversaries in and around Indian territorial waters, they said.
The Indian Navy is working separately on a project to acquire Sea Guardian drones from the United States for expanding its surveillance in the country’s areas of interest from Madagascar to Malacca Straits and beyond.
The Navy is also getting its existing drones upgraded as part of an upgrade programme, which was recently taken up for discussion in the Defence Ministry.
Indian Navy has inducted two American Predator drones on lease from the US to carry out surveillance in the Indian Ocean region. Capable of carrying out surveillance for more than 30 hours, the drones are operating out of Indian Navy’s INS Rajali airbase.
The two Predator drones arrived in India around mid-November and entered into an operational role in the third week of November. The Indian Navy has inducted these drones under a lease agreement with the American vendor, sources added. As part of the deal, the vendor has deployed a team to guide the personnel operating the Predator drones.