India-US Set to Seal 31 Predator Drone Deal, Confirms Navy Chief

Visakhapatnam: Indian Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar announced on Sunday that the Defence Acquisition Council has approved the procurement of 31 Predator drones from the United States. The deal, expected to be finalized in the coming months, underscores India’s commitment to bolstering maritime security.

Admiral Kumar stated, “We are leading the procurement process, with the letter of request cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council and submitted to the US government. Following Congressional approval, the contract is poised to be signed.”

Highlighting the strategic importance of the acquisition, he mentioned, “While the delivery timeline spans over 36 months, the initial focus will be on manufacturing and procurement.”

The proposed deal, valued at approximately USD 4 billion, includes provisions for weapons and essential operational equipment. It entails the acquisition of 31 Predator drones, with the Indian Navy slated to operate 15, while the Indian Army and Air Force will each oversee 8 drones.

Emphasizing the significance of maritime cooperation, Admiral Kumar remarked on the upcoming MILAN 24 exercise, stating, “It marks a new chapter in regional maritime collaboration, ensuring the safety and freedom of the Indo-Pacific seas.”

In related news, the Eastern Naval Command announced the arrival of vessels from the Vietnam People’s Navy and the United States Navy for the MILAN 2024 maritime exercise in Visakhapatnam. The exercise, scheduled from February 19 to 27, will witness participation from over 50 countries.

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