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  • Writer's pictureayush devak

India to buy MQ-9 Reaper, the drone that killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

India is likely to purchase MQ-9 Reaper Drones in a billion-dollar deal with the US. These drones, which use laser-guided Hellfire missiles for precision strikes, fall in the category of hunter-killer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

The US had reportedly used the MQ-9 Reaper drone for an air strike on a compound in Kabul, Afghanistan that had allegedly killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

According to media reports, India is preparing to acquire the MQ-9 Reaper drone for all the three military services of the Indian Armed forces. However, the Indian government is yet to come out with an official statement on this issue.

In 2017, the Indian Navy had taken these drones on lease for two years. They were being operated for surveillance of activities by the PLA Navy (PLAN) of China in the Indian Ocean. During the peak of the military stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh in 2020, India had leased two MQ-9A drones from US-based company General Atomics under a Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) lease agreement.

According to a report by New Indian Express, the purchase of the MQ-9 Reaper is one of the proposals listed for discussion in the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meet scheduled on Thursday. This drone is used for surveillance, intelligence gathering and precision strikes. It can also be controlled from ground stations and naval vessels.


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