Indian Armed Forces are formulating the Qualitative Requirements (QRs) for High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones, namely, the MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B, built by General Atomics, 10 for each Service. The pricing and availability (P&A) data has been obtained from the US through FMS. Each fully armed drone with sensors and weapons is expected to cost USD 200 Million, making it more expansive than a fighter plane. The drones will have different configurations as the payloads required by each service are going to be different. The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) is likely to come out by first half of this year for procuring of 30 Drones from General Atomics worth USD 3 Billion and expected to be inked before the close of next financial year.
Sea Guardian, the maritime variant of Predator-B, can fly at an altitude of over 40,000 feet and has a maximum endurance of 35 hours. It can carry an external payload of 2.1 tonnes across nine hard points. For the Navy, the Sea Guardian can fly in sync with its P-8Is, which are also from the U.S.