In a bid to strengthen Indo-American ties, the United States has approved the selling of 22 predator guardian drones to India, a few days ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. This game-changing deal signed between India and the United States costs around $2-3 billion. It’s likely to reinforce the defense walls in our country.
Other forces of the developed nations like US Air Force, NASA, US Department of Homeland Security, Royal Air Force and UK aerial warfare force have used Guardian drones for national security. Currently, countries like France, Spain, and Italy have borrowed this technology from the USA.
What’s so Special about Predator Drones?
Predator guardian drones, better known as MQ-9 Reapers or Predator B are a major part of Royal Air Force and US Air Force. Powered by a sturdy Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, this remotely piloted aircraft is integrated with the DECC technology. Digital electronic engine control technology enhances engine performance by minimizing fuel wastage at lower altitudes.
Over the years, these guardian drones have been upped to the next level, now known as Predator B ER. The latest model is furnished with a strong landing gear, wing-borne fuel pods, and other retrofit-table modifications. Earlier, the plane could fly continuously for 27 hours at an altitude of 50,000 feet. In the light of new developments, increasing the wingspan length to 79 feet (initial length: 66 feet) has increased its flight time to 42 hours. Moreover, the plane can now store more fuel in its fuel pods.
Weighing 1,746 kg, the plane boasts 7 external stations for carrying cargo and a specially-designed MIL-STD-1760 store management system. The maximum speed of guardian drones is 240 KTAS. Advanced triple-redundant flight control system and fault tolerance boost its operational efficiency by several notches. The latest Predator drones have more than 90% operational availability.
Why is this Deal Important for India?
If the defense contractors of the General Atomics are to be believed, these guardian drones come in handy while air missions. They’re easy to operate, which is why they’re used for long-term intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions. India has never deployed MQ-9 Reapers in its air missions. Buying 22 new drones from America is likely to boost our air capabilities.
In a time when ‘racism’, ‘migration’ and ‘business ties’ are controversial topics in America, this deal is likely to remove any reluctance or hostilities between the two nations. PM Modi’s visit to America is likely to mollify the ‘Trump effect’ on Indians residing there.