Acquisition of MQ-9B drones: Uncalled for speculative reports
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), on June 15, 2023, accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for acquisition of 31 MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Tri-Services from the USA through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route. The AoN included the number of UAVs to be procured along with associated equipment.
The AoN noted the estimated cost of 3,072 million US dollars provided by the US Government. However, price will be negotiated once policy approval of the US Government is received. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will compare the acquisition cost with the best price offered by General Atomics (GA) to other countries. The procurement is in progress and would be completed as per the laid down procedure.
Under the FMS route, a Letter of Request (LOR) would be sent to the US Government where Tri-services requirements, details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be included. Based on LOR, the US Government and MoD will finalise the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) where details of equipment and terms of the procurement would be negotiated and finalised in accordance with the FMS program and the price and terms offered by the US Government and GA to other countries.
Meanwhile, some speculative reports emerged in sections of social media referring to the price and other terms of purchase. These are uncalled for, have ulterior motives and aimed at derailing the due acquisition process. Price and other terms & conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalised and subject to negotiations. In this regard, all are requested not to spread fake news/misinformation which can have serious impact on the morale of the Armed Forces and adversely impact the acquisition process.