The world’s top platform for armed ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) capability, Guardian MQ9B from General Atomics (GA), which is not available to even countries like Ukraine from the US, is progressing through the government to government Foreign Military Sale (FMS) discussion route. The lethal platform has had great success in ISR operations and armed conflict and enabled for export to only the very closest US partners. This would be the first platform with cutting edge US ISR technology incorporated into the Indian arsenal. It is also the first time that all three services will exhibit jointness with a platform as all three will take deliveries of these assets and collaborate on induction and operation which has been a goal of Indian military planners and top political leadership in New Delhi.
Government sources in New Delhi indicate that this is an urgent requirement and rare capability made available to India and they hope to close the deal soon. With manufacturing and high technology tie-ups in place between General Atomics and Indian companies, the drone ecosystem which is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a lot to gain said sources.
There are a series of high level engagements planned between both governments. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will be visiting Delhi in early March for the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting. Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden will be meeting at the Quad meeting in Australia (expected to take place in May) and there is talk of a potential Prime Minister Modi visit to the US this summer. President Biden is expected to visit India as part of the G20 in September this year. Expectations are high from both sides that this long standing requirement of India for armed ISR will fructify this year.
Who is Dr Vivek Lall?
Dr Vivek Lall a world renowned aerospace scientist and Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation who recently was given the Lifetime Achievement award by President Biden in US and a “Jewel of India” felicitation presided by 14th President of India Ram Nath Kovind, has been instrumental in bilateral cooperation at various levels in the last two decades. He announced tie ups with Bharat Forge, 3rd itech and 1114ai so far with more expected.
More about the Tie-ups
General Atomics Global Corporation, a major American energy and defense company, has revealed plans for three major projects in India aimed at advancing artificial intelligence, unmanned aerial vehicles and semiconductors. The move follows the launch of the India-US initiative on critical and emerging technologies.
Financial Express Online has reported General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has partnered with Bharat Forge, a top Indian forging company, for aerostructure manufacturing. The company has also teamed up with 114ai, an Indian AI firm, to develop cutting-edge AI technologies. The partnerships were announced by Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Executive of General Atomics Global Corporation.
In addition to its partnerships with Bharat Forge and 114ai, General Atomics has entered into a strategic alliance with 3rdiTech, an Indian semiconductor start-up. Dr Lall emphasized the importance of semiconductors in the modern technology landscape and highlighted the significance of the partnership with 3rdiTech as representing “the new India under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.”
He stated General Atomics’ commitment to supporting Prime Minister Modi’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat and said that the partnerships marked a “big step in the right direction.” The company is aligned with the government’s “Make in India” strategy and looks forward to further cooperation with Indian firms.
The US Semiconductor Industry Association and the India Electronics Semiconductor Association, in partnership with the Indian Government Semiconductor Mission, have established a task force to evaluate industry prospects and encourage the development of complementary semiconductor ecosystems in India. Last week Financial Express Online reported that the White House has said the task force will provide recommendations on workforce development, R&D and exchange opportunities that would benefit both nations.