From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : MQ-9B, BECA
Mains level : India-US defense cooperation
The Indian Navy has inducted two MQ-9B Sea Guardian unarmed drones procured from the U.S. on lease.
Try this question from CSP 2018:
Q.What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news?
(a) An Israeli radar system
(b) India’s indigenous anti-missile programme
(c) An American anti-missile system
(d) A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea
MQ-9B Sea Guardian
- The Guardian, which is the maritime variant of the Predator MQ-9 UAV, has a maximum endurance of 40 hours and a maximum flying altitude of 40,000 feet.
- It has 360-degree maritime surveillance radar and optional multimode maritime surface search radar.
- The drone can perform over-the-horizon long-endurance, medium-altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
- The recently released Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 has introduced an option for leasing military platforms.
- The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) has simplified such high- technology cooperation.
- BECA will help India get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence that will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones.
- Through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting.
- This could be a key to Air Force-to-Air Force cooperation between India and the US.
- BECA will provide Indian military systems with a high-quality GPS to navigate missiles with real-time intelligence to precisely target the adversary.
- Besides the sailing of ships, flying off aircraft, fighting of wars, and location of targets, geospatial intelligence is also critical to the response to natural disasters.