WASHINGTON — India and the United States have recently signed an agreement to co-develop air-launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) under the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, a bilateral defense cooperation mechanism that promotes joint collaboration in technology exchange, said the US Air Force.
“Air Vice-Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari, Indian Air Force, Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Plans, and Brig. Gen. Brian R. Bruckbauer, Director of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, signed a landmark agreement recently to co-develop air-launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV),” US Air force said in a statement.
The agreement is the inaugural co-development project under the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, a bilateral defense cooperation mechanism that promotes collaborative technology exchange, strengthens cooperative research and enables co-production/co-development of defense systems for sustainment and modernization of military forces.
“The United States and India share a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Kelli L. Seybolt, Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs.
“This co-development agreement further operationalizes India’sIndia’s status as a Major Defense Partner and builds upon our existing strong defense cooperation.”
The project is valued at more than $22 million with costs shared equally and marks the largest-ever defense research, development, test, and evaluation collaboration between the United States and India.
“The objectives are the Design, Development, Demonstration, Test, and Evaluation of technologies including physical hardware such as small UAVs, avionics, payload power, propulsion, and launch systems through prototyping that meet the operational requirements of the Indian and US Air Forces,” said the US Airforce.
“The co-development project will be carried out jointly between the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and India’sIndia’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).”
India has recently adopted a new drone policy with liberalized changes.
In March, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation published the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021, and opened the draft for discussion.
The approvals have been abolished for several things such as unique authorization number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, operator permits, student remote pilot license, remote pilot instructor authorization, and drone port authorization, among others, as per the draft of the Drone Rules, 2021.
Under Drone Rules, 2021, the maximum penalty has been reduced to INR 1,00,000 ($1,340).
“This important Project Agreement comes after many months invested by the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation team, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program offices, Air Force Research Lab, Air Force International Affairs, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, as well as our Indian Air Force and Defense Research and Development Organization counterparts working together, side-by-side, on common national security interests,” said Bruckbauer.
“I am proud of the dedicated teamwork and partnership this Project Agreement represents for both of our countries.”
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari
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