US embassy officials visit Indian Navy base operating leased Predator drones

WASHINGTON, Feb 8: The US officials have visited a key Indian Navy base that operates the leased American Predator drones, highlighting the close synergy between the two countries in building credible defence cooperation.
During the visit, US Embassy Staff were briefed by the Indian Navy about the capabilities of the remotely piloted aircraft and its various sensors, their roles in aiding Indian Navy surveillance tasking, maintenance, and logistical support, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) said in a media release.
“The visit by Staff of the US Embassy in India to witness MQ-9 operations from an Indian Naval Base, highlights the close synergy between our two countries in building credible defence cooperation for achieving and maintaining peace in the Indian Ocean Region,” Vivek Lall, chief executive, General Atomics Global Corporation, said in a statement.
India has leased General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) manufactured MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for over two years.
“We were truly impressed by the collaboration we witnessed between the Indian Navy and GA-ASI. The MQ-9 is a proven ISR platform, and the Indian Navy has deployed it to its full potential,” said Raghavan Srinivasan, Commercial Attaché, US Embassy New Delhi.
“The camaraderie between the Indian Navy personnel and GA-ASI crew is evident, despite the tempo of operations and pressures of long-range maritime surveillance,” Srinivasan said.
GA-ASI manufactures the world’s most advanced RPAS, which are equipped with cutting-edge technology and are operated by a complex ground system of interconnected control stations and operational centers, the media release said on Tuesday.
The MQ-9s are supplied to India by GA-ASI as part of a Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) lease agreement, it said, without divulging the number of units leased to the country.
GA-ASI is the world’s leading manufacturer of RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions. MQ-9s are operated by the United States, the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. GA-ASI’s newer variant has been acquired by the UK and on order for Belgium. (PTI)