The first Predator drones and armaments for the Indian armed forces are expected to arrive in November 2025.
The manufacturer of the Predator drone, General Atomics, has pledged delivery within two years of the contract for this Rs 32,000 crore agreement being signed. The paperwork for the contract signing has already begun, and the deal is expected to be completed before the end of the year. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, the announcement was made.
In total, 31 Predators are being considered, with 15 for the Navy and eight apiece for the Army and Air Force. The first batch of eight (four for the Army and four for the IAF) is scheduled for late 2025 and there will be 8 every year after that. The Navy already has 2, on lease. The naval version of the Predator is a little different from the one the Army and Air Force is getting.
The Navy’s 15 Predators are expected to be stationed in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, while the Army and IAF “birds” would be stationed in Uttar Pradesh. The Army and IAF will each have four in Sarsawa, with an equivalent number in Gorakhpur.
The Navy is the deal’s “lead” service. Once the Army and IAF have sent the Letters of Request, or LORs, to the Navy, they can be forwarded to General Atomics and the US Department of Defence. Then, General Atomics will submit the commercial bid, which will lead to price talks. They should be finished by the end of 2023.
A second contract for the armaments that the Predators will carry will be signed as well. These will be used for anti-tank guided missiles and laser guided bombs, respectively.