India and the United States have signed an agreement recently 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 collaborative technology exchange, informed the US Air Force on Friday.
“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 statement said.
“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, adding that “This co-development agreement further operationalises India’s status as a Major Defense Partner and builds upon our existing strong defense cooperation.”
The project is valued at more than USD 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. The co-development project will be carried out jointly between the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),” the statement said.
“This important Project Agreement comes after many months invested by the AFSAC team, AFLCMC program offices, AFRL, Air Force International Affairs, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, as well as our Indian Air Force and DRDO counterparts working together, side-by-side, on common national security interests,” emphasized Bruckbauer. “I am proud of the dedicated teamwork and partnership this Project Agreement represents for both of our countries.”