U.S. approves $4B drone sale to India

By Tony Bertuca / February 1, 2024 at 11:42 AM

The State Department has approved a possible $4 billion foreign military sale to India for 31 Sky Guardian MQ-9B drones to conduct “unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in sea lanes of operation,” according to a congressional notification from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The deal for the drones, made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, includes 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 16 M36E9 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles, 310 GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bombs and eight GBU-39B/B LSDB Guided Test Vehicles with live fuzes. The sale would also cover a variety of communications and navigation equipment and sensors.

DSCA notes that India typically requires “offset” agreements to mitigate the impact on its domestic industrial base, though the terms will be defined in future negotiations.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defense partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” DSCA said.

Though the notice states the FMS will amount to $4 billion, DSCA adds that the final deal “will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.”