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Acquisition of MQ-9B Drones: Indian Defence Acquisition Council Dismisses Speculative Reports as Unfounded

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In a significant development, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) on June 15, 2023, for the procurement of 31 MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) from the USA. The acquisition, to be carried out through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route, comprises 16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian drones and includes associated equipment.

The DAC took note of the estimated cost of the acquisition, which stands at 3,072 million US dollars, as communicated by the US Government. However, the final price will be determined through negotiations once policy approval from the US Government is received. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will ensure a comprehensive assessment of the procurement cost by comparing it with the best price offered by General Atomics (GA) to other nations. The acquisition process is currently underway and will adhere to established procedures.

Under the FMS route, a Letter of Request (LOR) will be submitted to the US Government, outlining the requirements of the Tri-Services, equipment specifications, and procurement terms. Based on the LOR, the US Government and MoD will finalize a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) that will encompass the negotiated details of equipment and procurement terms, following the guidelines of the FMS program and considering the offerings made by the US Government and GA to other countries.

However, it is crucial to note that certain speculative reports have surfaced on social media platforms, making references to the purchase price and other terms of the acquisition. The Defence Acquisition Council firmly dismisses these reports as baseless, unfounded, and driven by ulterior motives. Such misinformation aims to disrupt the smooth progress of the acquisition process. It is emphasized that the price and other terms and conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalized and remain subject to negotiations. It is therefore imperative for everyone to refrain from spreading fake news or disseminating misinformation, as such actions can seriously impact the morale of the Armed Forces and impede the acquisition process.

 

Established in 2001, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) serves as a pivotal body entrusted with the crucial task of overseeing the country’s defence procurement planning process. With a composition that includes esteemed members from various defense-related domains, the DAC plays a pivotal role in ensuring the expeditious acquisition of approved requirements for the Armed Forces. Led by the Indian Defence Minister as the Chairman, the council consists of the Minister of State for Defence, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Defence Secretary, the Secretary of Defence Research & Development, the Secretary of Defence Production, the Chief of Integrated Staff Committees HQ IDS, and the Director General (Acquisition). Assisting the council is the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence, serving as the Member Secretary.

The DAC’s primary objectives revolve around providing comprehensive guidance for the defence procurement planning process and facilitating the efficient and timely procurement of approved requirements for the Armed Forces. By offering in-principle approval for the 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces, the council ensures a strategic outlook that aligns with the long-term goals and needs of the defense establishment. Furthermore, the DAC plays a vital role in categorizing acquisition proposals into three key categories: ‘Buy,’ ‘Buy & Make,’ and ‘Make.’ This categorization process allows for a clear and systematic approach to defense procurement, streamlining the decision-making process and ensuring efficient utilization of resources.

With its well-defined composition, the DAC brings together a diverse range of expertise, encompassing policy-makers, service chiefs, defense secretaries, and research and development heads. This collective knowledge and experience ensure that all aspects of defense acquisition are thoroughly evaluated and meticulously planned. The council’s holistic approach helps in addressing the specific needs of the Armed Forces while considering budgetary constraints, technological advancements, and the overall defense strategy.

 

 

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