Watch: India may buy Predator-B drones from US

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India May 02, 2018, 11.22 AM(IST)

The Predator-B can operate from a height of 50,000 feet, it also possesses multi-mode maritime surveillance radars. Photograph:( WION )

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The Preador-B is decked with hellfire missiles including laser-guided missiles.

Indian officials are in talks with the US to procure the Predator-B drone. 

A high level US technical team will be in Delhi to discuss the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement(COMCASA). India has been contemplating signing the agreement for a long time, the COMCASA deal will give India access to secure communications systems which will plug India into the US communications grid. 

The COMCASA agreement will ensure net-enabled weapons systems which includes precision weapons and air-to-air missiles, also space and navigation systems.

The Predator-B drone can attack and carry out surveillance. The state of the art drone has infra-red and maritime radar.

The Indian government has however not yet decided on buying the drones. Sources told WION that the discussion on drones could be taken up by India's defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who will be travelling to the US this month for talks.

The Predator-B drone is known as the MQ9 Reaper and is a deadly, hunter-killer drone. It is also is a "cheaper option" than a manned aircraft, especially in hostile territory. The drone is handled by a ground crew and its attack is undertaken by a pilot. 

The Predator-B can operate from a height of 50,000 feet, it also possesses multi-mode maritime surveillance radars. The electronic support measures include jamming enemy communications and radar. It also has laser designators to guide missiles to targets.

The Preador-B is decked with hellfire missiles including laser-guided missiles. The biggest advantage of the drone is its ability to stay on a target undetected for hours together. It was the same type of drone the US used for surveillance on al Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden.

India has already signed the 22 Sea Guardian unmanned aerial systems(UAS) drones from the US at a reported cost of $2 billion. The move was aimed at protecting India's security, the  Sea Guardian also performs maritime surveillance.

Sources said India wasn't interested in buying unarmed drones, telling interlocutors in Washington DC that it added to costs and logistics effort. India preferred both attack and surveillance in one platform.