According to the Pentagon, a new agreement was inked by the US and Indian Air Forces to collaborate on the creation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The objective is to “design, develop, demonstrate, test, and evaluate technologies, including physical hardware, such as small UAVs, avionics, payload power, propulsion, and launch systems through prototypes that fulfill the operational objectives of the Indian and U.S. Air Forces.”
In-depth details about India and the US will collaborate to develop military drones:
In what the Pentagon describes as the “largest-ever” RDT&E initiative between the forces, the over $22 million price tag for the effort will be split 50/50.
According to Kelli Seybolt, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, “The United States and India share the same goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific.” This co-development agreement “builds upon our current robust defense cooperation” and “further operationalizes India’s role as a Major Defense Partner.”
The US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, or DDTI, is in charge of the initiative. As a pet project of the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, that endeavor dates back to 2012. The initiative was revived when Carter was appointed secretary in 2015; Ellen Lord, who oversaw Pentagon procurement for the entirety of the Trump administration, was also a strong proponent of greater development connections with India.
Lord really promoted a project to jointly create a small unmanned device that might be fired from cargo planes in 2019. Although nothing seems to have directly resulted from that, it’s difficult not to find connections between the 2019 strategy and what was revealed last week.
The biggest example of this was India’s fighter competition, which entailed years of delays and restarts after it had selected the Dassault Rafale in 2012. Additionally, India’s own internal technological development attempts have also failed.
In spite of this, defense businesses have demonstrated a readiness to work with India, which accounted for 9.5% of all worldwide weapon purchases in 2020 and was the second-largest importer of defense products.