Who: Union Government
What: Approved the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones from Israel
When: 11 September 2015
The Union Government on 11 September 2015 approved the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones from Israel. This 400 million US dollars proposal for buying armed missile-armed drones from Israel will enhance India’s cross-border military strike capability.
These drones will be operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has a fleet of reconnaissance drones. IAF also has a fleet of Harpy UAVs from Israel, which are self-destructing systems primarily tasked with taking out enemy radar positions.
The armed forces had earlier proposed for buying the same armed drones in 2012. But that proposal did not get political backing during the UPA-2 regime. Later, the project was revived and fast tracked by the Modi government in 2015 beginning.
About Heron drones
• The Heron drone, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, is capable for flying for 52 hours of continuous flight at medium altitude levels.
• Israel’s armed Heron drones are similar to the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are capable of reconnaissance, combat and support roles.
• Heron drones can carry a payload of over 1000 kg.
• They are equipped with air-to-ground missiles that detect, track and take down targets deep in enemy territory.
India currently operates a fleet of unarmed Heron and Searcher UAVs for surveillance and intelligence gathering.