The United States has reportedly depicted interest in selling the armed version of Guardian drones to the Indian sub-continent. If sources are to be believed, these drones were originally meant to be sold as unarmed units for surveillance purposes.
For the record, this would be the first time that Washington would be selling huge armed drones outside of the NATO group. In the event that India purchases the same, the drones would be the first technologically advanced aircrafts in the region where India and Pakistan are often at loggerheads.
The decision comes on the heels of the Trump administration taking proactive steps towards changing its arms export policy from April to expand sales to allies, while simultaneously promising that it would create better jobs in the U.S. and push forward the defense industry. These steps seemingly include a new drone export policy which will allow allies of the U.S. to acquire lethal drones laced with missiles & all sized surveillance drones easily.
India needs to sign up the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the U.S. to gain access to these arms which might be a hurdle in closing this deal, as per reports. Apparently, Washington has initiated the same as a primary condition to operate advanced defense systems. According to sources though, India might soften its opposition as the U.S. government has assured that the COMCASA will be applicable only to the weapons, fighter jets procured from the U.S. and will not apply to the larger Russian origin weaponry with the Indian defense. The integration and cost of the weapons system still need to be addressed prior to the deal closure.
For the record, in June 2017, General Atomics confirmed that the U.S. government had given a go ahead to the naval variant of the drone. In response, India has been in talks with the U.S. for 22 MQ-9B Guardian aircraft to watch over the Indian ocean.
Saipriya Iyer currently works as a content developer for AlgosOnline. A computer engineer by profession, she ventured into the field of writing for the love of playing with words. Having had a previous experience of 3 years under her belt, she has dabbled with website content writing, content auditing, tech writing, promotional writing, business writing, editing, research, copywriting, copyediting, and content visualization. Her hobbies include reading, music, and cooking.