State Department Authorizes Foreign Military Sale to India for MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft


Washington, DC – In a significant development, the U.S. State Department has greenlit a Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India, approving the acquisition of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft along with related equipment at an estimated cost of $3.99 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) formally notified Congress of this potential sale.

Yesterday an Indian media report quoting an anonymous Washington-based source, claimed that the US was blocking the $3 billion drone Sale to India until there is a ‘meaningful Investigation’ of the Pannun assassination conspiracy.  

Responding to a question on the media report, State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, noted that a formal notification to Congress had not occurred yet, adding “The U.S.-Indian Defense Partnership has seen significant growth over the past decade. This is a proposed sale that was announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit last year. We believe it offers significant potential to further advance strategic technology cooperation with India and military cooperation in the region.”

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday, President of India US Business Council Ambassador Atul Keshap called the media report “anonymous gossip in a platform that does not triangulate and verify.”

The proposed sale includes thirty-one MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft, one hundred sixty-one Embedded Global Positioning & Inertial Navigation Systems, thirty-five L3 Rio Grande Communications Intelligence Sensor Suites, one hundred seventy AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, and various other munitions and support equipment.

A press release from DSCA noted that the MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft will enhance India’s capabilities to address current and future threats, facilitating unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in crucial sea lanes of operation. The sale is aligned with the United States’ foreign policy and national security objectives, aiming to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two nations.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, based in Poway, CA, is slated to be the principal contractor for this arms deal. The proposed sale is not expected to alter the basic military balance in the region, and no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness is foreseen.

The sale is seen as a testament to India’s commitment to modernizing its military and is expected to contribute to political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.

Poonam Sharma
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Poonam is a multi-media journalist, and Managing Editor of India America Today (IAT). She launched its print edition in 2019 with IAT's Founder and Editor, the late Tejinder Singh.

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