Saturday, February 24, 2024

Defence Ministry Dismisses Speculation Around MQ-9B Price Point

By Staff Correspondent

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), on 25 June, dismissed the speculation around price and other acquisition terms regarding the MQ-9B  High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for tri-services. The Defence Ministry had said that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had accorded the Accordance of Necessity (AoN) for acquisition of 31 MQ-9B drones on 15 June. The formal recognition has been provided for 16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian systems. The procurement will be undertaken via the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) channel, supplied by the US. This AoN delineates the quantity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the accompanying equipment to be acquired.

The prospective cost, as quoted by the US government, is positioned at a considerable $3.072bn, subject to negotiation following formal approval by the US government. However, conjectural reports questioning the price and other acquisition terms have surfaced on certain segments of social media. Addressing these reports in a statement, the MoD said, “these are uncalled for, have ulterior motives and aimed at derailing the due acquisition process. Price and other terms & conditions of the purchase are yet to be finalised and subject to negotiations. In this regard, all are requested not to spread fake news/misinformation which can have serious impact on the morale of the Armed Forces and adversely impact the acquisition process.”

The statement further said that MoD will conduct a comparative analysis of the procurement cost against the most competitive price offered by General Atomics to other nations. The procurement operation is currently in progress and will follow established procedures.

In line with the FMS program, a formal Letter of Request (LOR) will be dispatched to the US government, outlining Tri-Services requirements, detailing equipment specifications, and setting out the terms of the acquisition. The ensuing dialogue between the US government and the MoD will result in the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), providing a comprehensive agreement detailing equipment, procurement terms, and pricing – consistent with the terms extended by the US government and General Atomics to other nations.

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