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U.S. hints at selling upto 90-100 state-of-the-art Predator Avenger Drones to India

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by lca-fan, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    U.S. hints at selling upto 90-100 state-of-the-art Predator Avenger Drones to India

    Friday, August 18, 2017
    By: Defense News
    Source Link: CLICK HERE

    • [​IMG]
      Fewer than a dozen Avenger drones have been purchased since the product first flew in 2009, but General Atomics believes it may be able to sell about 90 aircraft in the next few years to a single international buyer, its president said Wednesday.


    General Atomics has struggled to find a major customer for the Avenger, also called the Predator C, since the collapse of the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-X program and the U.S. Navy’s UCLASS program, both of which sought out UAVs that could survive contested environments.

    But speaking to reporters on Aug. 16, GA president David Alexander said the company was engaged with an unnamed foreign nation on a potential Avenger purchase.

    “A quantity of 90. It would be a big program,” he said.

    Robert Walker, senior director of strategic development, added that “a lot of work” needs to be done to refine the requirements and that details were still being ironed out.

    Although GA officials would not spell out which country is interested in the UAV, signs point to India. In April 2016, Reuters reported that India’s Air Force had inquired about the potential procurement of up to 100 Predator Cs.

    Even if India, if it is the unnamed country interested in the Avenger, decides to press on with the sale — which is especially uncertain given the country’s fondness for rapidly changing weapons acquisition plans — it is unclear whether the United States would agree to export the armed UAVs. Unmanned aircraft are currently subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime, which spells out a “presumption of denial” for Category I systems like the Avenger.

    Further export controls enacted during the Obama administration made it difficult to export many UAVs outside of NATO countries and other treaty allies.

    “That restriction probably existed a long time before that as an unspoken reality, but the formalization in 2015 formalized the strictness of that interpretation,” General Atomics’ CEO Linden Blue said. “Which means if you’re not in NATO, or you’re not Japan, South Korea or Australia, forget it.”

    That Obama-era policy is now under review by the Trump administration, which could open a path for an Avenger sale to India, a longtime partner nation of the United States that has been denied armed UAVs in the past, or other interested countries that have trouble getting weaponized drones.

    Within defense circles, General Atomics is known for its reticence and protectiveness of its intellectual property, with its top executives and program managers seldom engaging with the press. But as unmanned systems become more pervasive, the company is slowly opening up — it held its first-ever media open house at its Poway, California, headquarters on Aug. 15 and 16.

    Defense reporters got to see GA’s Avenger prototype, Angel One, during a trip to the company’s hangars at Gray Butte Field Airport. Angel One — which is slightly smaller than the production version of the Avenger — has been configured for humanitarian aid missions such as airdropping food rations from its expansive payload bay.

    However, most details about the Avenger continue to be tightly guarded, with company officials saying they were not permitted to talk about the operational use of the aircraft for classification reasons.

    GA has acknowledged the production of up to nine Avenger aircraft: the Angel One prototype that the company currently still owns; one bought by the U.S. Air Force; and no more than seven units owned by a classified U.S. government customer, Alexander said.

    Unlike its older brothers, the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, the Avenger features a jet engine and internal weapons bay, making it less visible to radar.

    “It’s a very affordable aircraft. It’s high altitude with a very large sensor bay,” he said. The extended-range Avenger has a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds, including internal storage for up to 3,860 pounds of equipment.

    That could accommodate systems equivalent to the MS-177 multispectral sensor, which is being tested aboard Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk in the hopes of bringing its surveillance capability up to the levels of the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane.

    “So if you wanted to fly this aircraft and look into somebody else’s country, deep in, something like that — that would be a sensor so big that you can’t really put it on an MQ-9,” he said. “Anything that carries something large within the airframe, that aircraft has an advantage. Like a laser weapon can fit in there, for example.”
     
  2. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    WTF is the IAF going to do with 90-100 UNARMED Predator Cs*


    The variant the US military doesn't even want

    And doesn't the CEO himself rule out India:


    “That restriction probably existed a long time before that as an unspoken reality, but the formalization in 2015 formalized the strictness of that interpretation,” General Atomics’ CEO Linden Blue said. “Which means if you’re not in NATO, or you’re not Japan, South Korea or Australia, forget it.”
     
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  3. sunstersun

    sunstersun Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Well the next line.

    >That Obama-era policy is now under review by the Trump administration, which could open a path for an Avenger sale to India, a longtime partner nation of the United States that has been denied armed UAVs in the past, or other interested countries that have trouble getting weaponized drones.

    addresses that pretty nicely I think.

    Also is there a confirmation they will be unarmed?
     
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  4. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    "Could", there's a lot of "coulds" in the Indo-US relationship, I wouldn't hold my breath on this one- even if it happens it is not going to be cleared anytime soon.
     
  5. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    They are lifting those restrictions for India.

    The Avengers will be armed.
     
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  6. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    We'll see, Indo-US deals/ties move at glacial speed ordinarily but right now there is even less momentum than usual because of domestic issues in the US.
     
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  7. kaku

    kaku Major Technical Analyst

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    This is not just about domestic issues, besides Bush, every US president took upto 5 years to understand geopolitics of Asia and South Asia.

    They never understood why India? But rest assured, in there last years they finally understand why India. Obama was not different. India US relation came to grind halt from 2008 to 2013.

    Also we cant blame them, for them Asia finish at Japan, Australia and Philippines. Even Russia is in Europe.
     
  8. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    For Obama and I think Trump too the other factor is China, they come into office trying to woo the Chinese intially, Obama tried this for years before commiting to the "Asian pivot" and then looking to India. Trump has tried to court the Chinese simiarly and will likely learn the same lesson and come crawling to India in his second term (if he gets one).


    Even in India there is a similar cycle- Modi tried his best to build bridges with Xi when he was first elected in 2014 but since then ties have nosedived and Modi has realised China simply isn't interested in working with India hence the current climate.
     
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  9. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Since there are little to no negotiations in such deals with the Americans, they will all be signed really fast.
     
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  10. MilSpec

    MilSpec Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    If the drones are not armed, its pointless to buy 90 of these.
     
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  11. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Yes there are serious stability issues here with the current administration, however the US is losing goodwill/patience towards Pakistan and turning on China at a pace that I don't remember seeing ever before.

    Which is part of the reason why even amidst all the Trump related uncertainty, Modi's visit & the growth of Indo-US ties seem to have gone perfectly fine without the sort of embarrassing incidents that occurred with other nations (such as engagements with Merkel and Turnbull).
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  12. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Fortunately, Trump seems different on this matter. From early on in his term, I've seen more favorable moves/decisions from him and his administration for India than most other administrations, including Obama.
     
  13. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Which is why I imagine they'll be armed. After all, what on Earth would we do with 90 expensive unarmed drones...?
     
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  14. ashkum2278

    ashkum2278 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    The only advantage this has over the Heron-TP is that it has internal bays and carries all the weapons that MQ--9 Reaper does. Additionally it has S shaped exhaust for Low IR Signature and is suitable for carrier born operations with folding Wings,strong under carriage & arrester hooks. It also demonstrates stealth features in higher frequences such as Ku,C,X Band. For additional Ordinance it has 4 external hardpoints.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017

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