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Army Gets Deliveries of 2 Israeli Heron TP Drones Bought in 2020, Deploys Them Along LAC in Ladakh

The Army bought a total of four Heron TP drones from Israel in 2020. The other two drones will be deployed along the LAC in the Northeast when they are delivered

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By: Amrita Nayak Dutta

Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai

News18.com

Last Updated: October 14, 2022, 11:07 IST

New Delhi, India

As per defence sources, the new drones were received in March and were deployed subsequently in eastern Ladakh for surveillance and reconnaissance missions amid the military standoff with China. (Reuters/File)
As per defence sources, the new drones were received in March and were deployed subsequently in eastern Ladakh for surveillance and reconnaissance missions amid the military standoff with China. (Reuters/File)

The Army has received deliveries of two of the four new Heron TP drones from Israel earlier this year which were bought under emergency powers delegated to it in 2020 for deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, News18 has learnt.

As per defence sources, the new drones were received in March and were deployed subsequently in eastern Ladakh for surveillance and reconnaissance missions amid the military standoff with China. The other two drones will be deployed along the LAC in the Northeast when they are delivered, the sources added.

News18 had first reported in September last year that India has finalised the deal to procure four Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones.

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Defence sources had said there are plans to eventually upgrade all MALE drones with the three services with advanced satellite communication and sensors for longer surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and also arm them with air-to-ground missiles and laser-guided munitions for precision strikes under a new project called Project Cheetah.

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India has also been planning to buy 30 MQ-9B High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) armed drones from the US, 10 for each of the defence services, costing a total of $3 billion, but there has been no tangible progress on the matter.

Army, Navy, IAF Ramping Up Drone Inventory

Procuring a range of advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has been the focus of the three services in the last two years.

The Navy is in the process of procuring 40 naval shipborne UAVs for which it issued a Request for Information earlier this year. In 2020, it had initiated the process to procure 10 naval UAVs through the fast track route. It had also taken two Predator drones on lease from the US in 2020.

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Earlier this month, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari told the media that the Indian Air Force is in the process of procuring a range of UAVs, counter-UAVs and “weaponising" its existing fleet of UAVs.

The Army is also procuring specific quantities of UAVs with varying ranges for surveillance and target acquisition purposes, including loitering munitions for combat roles and anti-drone systems.

Last year, the Army had signed a contract to procure over 100 explosives-carrying drones ‘SkyStriker’ to be manufactured by a Bengaluru-based joint venture between Israel’s Elbit System and India’s Alpha Design.

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It has also bought a number of SWITCH UAVs from Mumbai-based private firm ideaForge and has deployed them along the LAC in the northeast for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles.

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About the Author

Amrita Nayak DuttaAmrita Nayak Dutta, News Editor at CNN-News18, writes on key government policies...Read More

first published: October 14, 2022, 11:07 IST
last updated: October 14, 2022, 11:07 IST