US sends Letter of Acceptance to India for Predator drone purchase | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

US sends Letter of Acceptance to India for Predator drone purchase

Mar 15, 2024 07:58 AM IST

The US State Department notified the drone deal on Feb 1, but the draft LOA was kept open for possible objections from US lawmakers for a mandatory 30 days.

New Delhi: India and US have further cemented defence cooperation with the Biden administration sending the final letter of acceptance (LOA) to the Defence Ministry for acquisition of 31 MQ9B Predator drones from General Atomics through the government to government route. The US sent the classified LOA for the nearly $4 bn acquisition to India this week.

The letter of acceptance is a response to India sending a letter of intent to purchase 31 drones to the US government.
The letter of acceptance is a response to India sending a letter of intent to purchase 31 drones to the US government.

According to officials based in Washington and Delhi, the final LOA, with the negotiated price of 31 armed drones by US with the manufacturer, was sent to the Defence Ministry on March 11, belying reports that the deal was held up by the Biden Administration after the alleged plot to assassinate Khalistani radical G S Pannun.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The US State Department notified the drone deal on February 1, but the draft LOA was kept open for possible objections from US lawmakers for a mandatory 30 days. The final LOA was sent to India after there were no vetoes from the lawmakers to the US deal with India.

Also read: Exclusive: US Congress green signals Predator drone sale to India

Now that the LOA has been received the deal will be studied by the Indian Navy, the lead player in the acquisition, and then forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval via the Defence Minister if the price is found to be satisfactory. The Indian Navy will get 16 MQ 9B drones, and the Indian Army and Indian Air Force will get eight each as per the agreement between the armed forces. India has decided to purchase 31 drones with 171 Hell-fire AGM 114 R missiles, laser guided bombs, missile launchers, ground stations, anti-submarine sonobuoys and the full encryption as well as surveillance complement package for the state of the art platform.

Also read: How Predator drones will neutralise the Chinese threat

The letter of acceptance is a response to India sending a letter of intent to purchase 31 drones to the US government. Under the G-to-G route, it is the supplying government that negotiates with the manufacturer on price.

The acquisition of the 31 Predator drones by India came at a time when the lease of two Sky Guardian drones (unarmed Predators) by the Indian Navy was on the verge of expiring in January . This was first extended till March, and then a contract for further extension for four years was signed this month at a cost of $ 220-230 million.

Also read: Why Indian Predator drone will be a game-changer against adversaries

Analysts say the India-US MQ9B deal will be a game changer in the Indo-Pacific, serving as an effective counter to the Chinese Wing Loong II armed drones, which have also been sold by Beijing to its client state Pakistan.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok Sabha Election 2024 Live, Election 2024 Date, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On