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US Approves Sale of UAV Technology to India

The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India. The deal to sell UAV drones to India is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion. Though the deal has been approved by the State Department, an official announcement regarding the deal is yet to be announced.

Significance

The transfer of the state-of-the-art UAV technology to India will be the first significant progress after India’s entry into the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and after the US has designated India as a major defence partner. India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.

The transfer of Guardian UAV technology is aimed at furthering mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean.

The deal would also pave the way for the transfer of other key technology sales from the US to India. The Guardian unmanned aircraft has been classified as Category 1 aircraft with cutting edge technologies.

Background

Last year, the Indian Navy had requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The US has designated India as a “major defence partner” under the Obama Administration. The US considers India as a key player to counter the Chinese threat. However, the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance under Obama administration.

UAVs operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.

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India ink defence deals with Israel for advanced MRSAM

India and Israel have inked defence deals worth over $2 billion for advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems.

As part of the deal, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide the Indian Army with Barak-8 advanced MRSAM systems.

About MRSAM

  • MRSAM is an advanced ground breaking air and missile defence system that can provide ultimate protection against a variety of aerial threats such as hostile aircraft, missiles and drones.
  • It has been developed jointly by IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Other firms involved in project include Rafael, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited and L&T.
  • The system includes advanced phased-array radar, command and control systems, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.
  • Using its Multi-Function Surveillance and Threat Alert Radars (MF-STARs), as well as weapon control systems with data links, it can detect and track hostile aerial threats at a range of 100-km and destroy them at 70-km.
  • The MRSAM is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defense Forces. Its deployment in Indian Army will help in plugging the existing holes in India’s air defence coverage.
Comment

Israel currently is the fourth-largest arms supplier to India after the US, Russia and France. The MRSAM systems defence deal between India and Israel will further tighten the bilateral strategic partnership between both countries ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impending visit to Israel in July 2017.

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India inks Rs 5,000 crore defence deal with US to buy 145 M777 howitzers

India has signed government-to-government (G2G) deal with the United States (US) to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million under the Foreign Military Sales programme.

The deal was signed at the two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) held in New Delhi.

This is the first defence deal signed by India for purchasing artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. It was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Under this deal

  • M777 howitzers manufacturer BAE Systems will conclude an offset agreement estimated at about $200 million. 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition.
  • Remaining 120 guns will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India.
  • BAE Systems already has selected the Mahindra group as the local offset partner.

India-US MCG: It is a bilateral forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff (India) and US Pacific Command at strategic and operational levels.

About Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) artillery Guns

It is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. It is smaller and lighter.  It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopters. It has effective firing range of 24 km.
Comment

M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers artillery guns induction will give Indian defence forces a much needed operational advantage and an access to state of art technology. These guns will be deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China.

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