India-US pact for air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles

India-US pact for air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles: Recently India and the US have signed a Project Agreement (PA) to jointly develop an air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone that can be launched from aircraft. The Project Agreement (PA) was signed between the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Department of Defense (DoD) under the Joint Working Group on Air Systems, India’s Ministry of Defense Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Know about Project Agreement (PA)

Goal: Under the cooperation, both the countries will work towards the design, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation of systems for co-development of ALUAV prototypes.

This Project Agreement (PA) for Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoD) signed between India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the US Department of Defense (DoD) for research, development, testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E). It was first signed in January 2006 and was renewed in January 2015.

Indian Participants: This Project Agreement (PA) sets the framework for collaboration between the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Indian Air Force, and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Execution: Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) established at DRDO and Directorate of Aerospace Systems established at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) are the major organizations for the execution of Project Agreements (PAs) with Indian and US Air Force.

Significance: The agreement was an important step towards strengthening defense technology cooperation between the two countries through the co-development of defense equipment. This could in the future lead to the joint creation of artificial intelligence-assisted drone swarms that can be launched from aircraft to destroy adversary’s air defense systems.

Know about Project Agreement (PA)

Formation: The ‘Defense Trade and Technology Initiative’ (DTTI) was announced in the year 2012 as an ambitious initiative for co-production and co-development of military systems, but despite several efforts, this initiative has not really worked. Has not happened. Progress could not be made.

Objective: To strengthen the defense industrial base of the US and India by moving from a traditional ‘buyer-seller concept to a collaborative approach. This will be done by exploring new areas of technical cooperation through co-development and co-production.

Projects: Projects under DTTI have been identified as near, medium, and long-term. Near-term projects include ‘Air-Launched Small Unmanned System’ (Drone Swarm), ‘Lightweight Small Arms Technology’ and ‘Intelligence-Surveillance-Targeting and Reconnaissance’ (ISTAR) system.

Medium-term projects include ‘Maritime Domain Awareness Solutions’ and ‘Virtual Augmented Mixed Reality for Aircraft Maintenance’ (VAMRAM). Long-term projects include anti-drone technology called ‘Terrain Shaping Obstacle (Lethal Ammunition) and Counter-UAS, Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CURAM) System’ for the Indian Army.

Joint Working Groups: Joint Working Groups on Land, Naval, Air, and Aircraft Carrier Technologies have been set up under DTTI to focus on mutually agreed projects in the respective domains.

Other Major Agreements Between India and America

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) deals with the sharing of information on maps and satellite images for large-scale geospatial intelligence and defense. It was signed between India and America in the year 2020.

The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed in the year 2018. It is intended to facilitate communication between the weapon platforms of the two armed forces.

The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) was signed in the year 2016 after a full 14 years. Its aim is to provide mutual logistics support around the world. The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed by the government in the year 2002. Its purpose is to protect military information shared by the US.

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