“The IAF are now especially concerned about the US drones’ effectiveness and survivability in volatile airspace along India’s border with Pakistan and China, which New Delhi claims can be equipped with advanced surface-to-air missile systems,” Hindustan Times reported, quoting military officials as saying.
The Indian Defense Ministry has not yet been approached for acceptance of necessity, to procure the drones. The plans were for the air force and the army to acquire 10 Predator-B drones each and the navy to buy long-distance surveillance versions.
In addition, high cost of the American armed drones is also pushing the IAF to backpedal on the deal, which is also eyeing at acquiring French-made Rafale jets.
Iran shot down the intruding American spy over its territorial waters in June.
The drone was identified as a US Navy MQ-4C Triton, which builds on elements of the RQ-4 Global Hawk with minor changes.
The downing of the American drone came amid tensions between Iran and the US which increased after the US pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018 and its recent military buildup in the Persian Gulf on the pretext of countering what it claims threats posed by Iran.