Atmanirbhar Bharat in Defense Drones: Indigenously manufactured Long range UAV to be purchased by Government of India

American UAV deal may be ditched to purchase and manufacture long rage UAV for Defense in India

New Delhi: To encourage the Make in India initiative, the government had put on hold the drone deal with the US. The government had directed a committee headed by a lieutenant general to review the deal. The US$4.5 billion deal for around 30 drones was said to be too expensive. Now the central government is considering getting indigenous drones capable of flying long distances. A private Indian company is developing this drone in partnership with an Israeli defense manufacturer.

The Indian government was planning to acquire 30 US high altitude drones equipped with strike capability including missiles. These drones were to be distributed equally among the three services. Top government sources told news agency ANI that the deal is not going ahead. Now an Indian defense company's developed Armed UAV (UAV) is being considered for purchase. In this indigenous drone project, the Indian company is meeting the Make in India norms set by the Central Government.

Sources said that at present, the three services are in need of deadly armed drones. These can be used for surveillance as well as for attacking enemy positions from a standoff distance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in favor of indigenous weapon systems and is continuously advocating it. In order to promote Make in India, the Defense Ministry has either canceled or stopped almost all defense deals on the instructions of the PMO.

At present, India is using two drones which are leased from an American firm. They are deployed in the Navy to keep an eye on enemy activities in the Indian Ocean region. India has acquired 12 American P-8I anti-submarine warfare surveillance aircraft. Sources say that the government will soon take a decision on going ahead with the purchase of indigenous drones with long-range firepower.