Indian military officials are reportedly reconsidering the procurement of Global Hawk drones from the US after Iranian forces easily shot it down over the Persian Gulf. The US’s state-of-art RQ-4 Global Hawk Drone was reportedly shot down by Russian S-300 missile system operated by Iran on June 20.
As per reports in The Hindustan Times, the Indian defence establishment is set to procure thirty drones from the US. While the tri-services have not yet approached the defence minister for “acceptance of necessity,” to acquire the drones, the plans were for the air force and the army to acquire 10 Predator-B drones each and the navy to buy long-distance surveillance versions.
Hindustan Times quoting the Indian military officials states that the Indian Air Force has expressed apprehensions over the effectiveness of US drones in highly contested air space like over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) or along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the disputed de facto border between India and China.
Both nations, Pakistan and China have advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) and shooting the armed drones (just like Iran did) would be both financially and militarily not really viable for India.
The Hindustan Times report further states “The armed drone has been successfully used by the US in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria as the skies are dominated by their air force. Pakistan is the only country that has counter-capabilities but will think 100 times before it decides to take a US drone down by a SAM or beyond visual range air-to-air missile.”
The other reason why India would be re-looking the deal with the US is due to the cost of drone which is a staggering $100 million and with other weapons like laser-guided bombs or hell-fire missiles added, the overall cost would double to $200 million apiece. This means that the Global Hawk drone would end up costing more than the highly-capable Rafael multi-role fighter jets.
Originally Reported By The Hindustan Times