India intending to buy MQ-9 Reaper

According to Hindustan Times, the armed forces of India intend to acquire American-made Predator-B reconnaissance and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Predator-B (MQ-9 Reaper).

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India intending to buy MQ 9 Reaper MQ-9 Reaper (Picture source: US Air Force)

The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against dynamic execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons -- it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.

Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy/raid overwatch, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.

Although the US has offered to sell 30 Sea Guardian (unarmed naval variant, or UAV, of the Predator-B made by General Atomics) for over $4 billion, national security planners feel that due to the prohibitive cost of the UAV it would be better to have an all-in-one drone rather than separate ones for surveillance and targeting. 

According to the publication, the United States may be afraid to supply MQ-9 Reaper drones, due to the possible leakage of technology to Russia, another key supplier of weapons to India.