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India-US collaboration within the Quad framework enhances security, says General Atomics's Vivek Lall

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Washington, Jan 15 (PTI) The collaboration between India and the US within the Quad framework enhances security and strengthens the ability to respond to emerging geopolitical threats and promotes a rules-based international order, according to a top Indian-American executive in the American defence industry.

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Vivek Lall, Chief Executive for the General Atomics Global Corporation, also said as his company is building its support network within India, it is also reaching out to the Indian high-tech sector.

“Collaboration between the U.S. and India, within the Quad framework, enhances security by fostering a strategic partnership to address common challenges, such as regional stability, maritime security, and counterterrorism,” Lall told PTI in an interview.

The US, Japan, India and Australia had in 2017 given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China’s aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region.

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Lall is on the Advisory Board of Quad Investors Network, a network of investors and executives across Quad countries that seeks to foster co-investment in critical technologies.

“This collaboration strengthens the collective ability to respond to emerging geopolitical threats and promotes a rules-based international order,” he said in response to a question.

Lall has been instrumental in several strategic defence deals between India and the United States, the latest being the General Atomic drones.

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“Working with India and the global industrial base has enhanced our aircraft. As more and more customers strive to bring our aircraft into their fleets, we’ll continue to initiate and develop partnerships that bring new and greater capabilities onto our aircraft,” he said.

“As General Atomics is building its support network within India, we’re also reaching out to the Indian high-tech sector. In the last year, we have announced partnerships with Indian companies such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Forge Aerospace, 114ai and 3rdiTech,” he said.

“Not only do these partnerships enhance our aircraft, but they also support India’s Atmanirbhar initiative, which will continue to drive India’s aerospace industry to new heights. Which is all to say: the state of India’s aerospace industry is strong, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring,” Lall told PTI.

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Lall said the US Air Force is turning to a new breed of collaborative combat aircraft, and General Atomics Aeronautical System (GA-ASI) is creating a family of unmanned collaborative aircraft.

"We call our series ‘Gambit'" he said.

“We know combat pilots in the future will need something that can fly ahead of them and, if necessary, stay ahead of them. And these new ‘wingmen’ need to be able to leverage high levels of autonomy and artificial intelligence to implement tasks and missions directed by their manned counterparts,” he said.

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These collaborative aircraft will work together to perform the Find, Fix, Track, Target and Engage (F2T2E) missions.

Adversary low-observable jets are built to delay detection from one aspect – primarily from a ground-based radar attempting to detect them.

When two or three or more autonomous Gambit aircraft work together to find and fix on a target from multiple aspects in the air, they can help a manned asset track it and determine a course of action, he added.

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“This is part of an evolving set of capabilities that GA-ASI is developing and testing on Class 5 UAV systems and is proud to be part of these emerging technologies to help the warfighter,” he said.

GA-ASI, he said, is at the forefront of developing and demonstrating Autonomy and AI pilots, where they can integrate and implement behaviours and services from a variety of military organizations and defence contractors.

“We’ve demonstrated an array of autonomous and AI capabilities in an open ecosystem that we think will set the standard for operationally relevant mission systems capabilities on UCAV platforms.

"A combination of airborne high-performance computing, sensor fusion, human-machine teaming and AI pilots making decisions at the speed of relevance shows how quickly our capabilities are maturing as we move to operationalize autonomy for UCAVs,” Lall said.

Responding to a question on General Atomics's recent successful experience with STOL (short takeoff and landing ) aircraft in the United Kingdom, he said it was a first-of-its-kind demonstration.

Observing that Arctic security is threatened by rapidly warming temperatures and receding ice, illegal shipping and fishing, and Russia’s increasing military presence in the region, he said China has shown it too wants to contend for influence.

These challenges underscore the critical need for Arctic allies and partners to gather cost-effective and reliable intelligence without risking human lives.

“GA’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian UAS is ready to connect Arctic allies and enable 24/7 surveillance in the region. Over the Arctic, MQ-9B can detect air, ground, surface, and subsurface targets of interest, including surveillance balloons, maritime vessels, and submarines, and then feed real-time intelligence to military and civil authorities around the world,” he said. PTI LKJ NSA AKJ NSA NSA

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