MQ-98 DRONES (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     2nd February 2024        

Context: THE US State Department has approved a potential sale of 31 armed MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, missiles and supporting equipment to India for an estimated USD 4 billion

MQ-9B Drones

  • Developed by: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI).
  • Variant of:  MQ-9 “Reaper”.
  • MQ-9 Reaper: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.

oThey are armed with strike missiles that can take out enemy targets with high accuracy.

  • The MQ-9B has two variants: Sky Guardian and Sea Guardian.
  • The Indian Navy has been operating the MQ-9B Sea Guardian since 2020.
  • Features of MQ-9B Sea Guardian

oPayload: It can carry up to 5,670 kg.

oAltitude: 40,000 feet.

oEndurance time: 40 hours.

oThis makes it useful for long-hour surveillance.

oIt can support land, maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, electronic warfare, and expeditionary roles.

oIt is capable of automatic take-offs and landings.

oThis enables joint forces and civil authorities to deliver real-time situational awareness anywhere in the maritime domain — day or night.