Purchase of 22 Guardian drones from the US will become a reality soon. This deal made China very cautious as the purchase means India can keep a better eye on the Indian Ocean where the Chinese are looking to expand presence. Now, India is eyeing a deal that’ll definitely send alarm bells ringing in Beijing and Islamabad.
General Atomics, the producer of Avenger drones, has found it hard to sell the drones. Now, its president has said that it may be able to sell about 90 aircrafts in the next few years to a single international buyer. GA President David Alexander said the company was engaged with an unnamed foreign nation on a potential Avenger purchase. Although the identity of the purchaser wasn’t revealed, educated assessment states that it is India.
In April 2016, Reuters reported that IAF had inquired about the potential procurement of up to 100 Predator Cs.Unmanned aircrafts are currently subject to the MTCR which spells out a ‘presumption of denial’ for Category I systems like the Avenger.The Obama administration had enacted rules that 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.”
This policy is now under review by the Trump administration. Even the President of GA is hoping that President Trump will ease export barriers.
The Avenger features a jet engine and internal weapons bay, making it less visible to radar.The extended-range Avenger has a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds, including internal storage for up to 3,860 pounds of equipment. However, other details about the drone have been kept a secret.
If this deal comes to fruition, then these combat drones along with the 22 Guardian drones will give India almost unmatched drone capability in the region.