MQ-9 Reaper

Context:  Ministry of Defence has approved the acquisition of 31 armed MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from the US.
  • The clearance for procuring the drones was given by a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

Image Source: The Hindu

About MQ-9 Reaper Drones:
  • The Reaper drone is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. 
  • The ‘M’ denotes multi-role, the ‘Q’ stands for remotely piloted aircraft system, while the ‘9’ indicates it is the ninth in the series of remotely piloted aircraft systems.
  • The MQ-9A ‘Reaper’ has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS (knots true airspeed) and can operate up to an altitude of 50,000 feet.
  • It is remotely operated by a two-person team — a pilot and an aircrew member to operate the sensors and weapons.
  • The RQ-1 Predator was retired in 2018 and replaced by the Reaper.
About Defence Acquisition Council:
  • It has been created pursuant to the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers on Reforming the National Security System in 2001, as a separate, dedicated structure for Defence Procurement.
  • Composition:
    • Chairman: Defence Minister
    • Members: Raksha Rajya Mantris, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Defence Secretary, Secretary of Dept. of Defence Production and Supplies, Secretary of Defence Research and Development Secretary of Defence Finance
  • Functions:
    • Give in-principle approval of a 15 years Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) for defence forces.
    • Accord of acceptance of necessity to acquisition proposals.
    • Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’, and ‘Make’.
    • Look into issues relating to single vendor clearance.
    • Take decisions regarding ‘offset’ provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs 300 crore.
    • Take decisions regarding the Transfer of Technology under the ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals.
    • Field trial evaluation.
News Source: The Hindu

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