MQ-9B Armed Drones

MQ-9B Armed Drones

News: Recently, India's Ministry of Defence has granted approval for the procurement of 31 MQ-9B armed drones from the United States.

What are MQ-9B armed drones?
• The MQ-9B drone is a variant of the MQ-9 “Reaper” which was used to launch a modified version of the Hellfire missile that eliminated al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
• The MQ-9B has two variants SkyGuardian and its sibling SeaGuardian. The Indian Navy has been operating the MQ-9B Sea Guardian since 2020.
• The drone can operate at over 40,000 feet, giving the Indian military surveillance capacity in the highaltitude Himalayan border areas.
• The Predator also has the maximum endurance of 40 hours, making it useful for long-hour surveillance.
• MQ-9B drones are equipped with advanced features such as automatic take-off and landing, detect and avoid system, anti-spoofing GPS, and encrypted communication links.

Significance of the deal:
• Closer defence and tech co-operation with the USA.
• Enhance surveillance and strike capabilities across LAC and on maritime boundaries as well.
• It will help in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and other affected regions. 

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