U.S. President Donald Trump had a long-drawn interest in mitigating the red-tape involved in weapon sales. Lately, the administration announced a new policy that could vastly expand sales of armed drones, a contentious emblem of the shift toward remotely controlled warfare.
But this happens to be good news for Indian IAF and at large for the indigenous A&D sector. As this new rejig in the policy will render India to purchase hi-tech armed drones from the United States. This is known to empower the counter-terrorism operations.
Reporting on the consequences, NYT reported that the deals can pose an array of challenges, involving not only national security issues, such as the transfer of sensitive technologies, but also economic ones.
Detailing on India-U.S. defence trade expansion, NYT outlined, the world’s largest weapons buyer, often requires defense firms to build weapons in India in partnership with Indian firms, the kind of requirements that the Trump administration finds objectionable in China with regard to cars and other products.
India could also get launch-pads along the Line of Control if the centre were to go ahead with the purchase.
Last year in October, it was reported that the Trump Administration was “considering” India’s request for armed drones for its air force, weeks after approving the sale of high-tech unarmed guardian drones to India.
Last year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $8 billion deal.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit in June 2017, the US announced to sell 22 unarmed Guardian drones to India.
So far, Indian armed forces operate a host of Israeli made drones including a limited number of IAI Harpy systems, an anti-radiation drone that homes onto radio emissions which it then attacks in a suicide mission where the drone itself is destroyed after it crashes onto its target.
The drones India is looking to acquire from the United States are larger, more heavily armed and significantly more capable.
According to Dr. Peter Navarro, Assistant to US President Donald Trump for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, the market for drones could be worth more than $50 billion a year within the next decade.