Indian Army to acquire four Israeli Heron drones on lease

May 27, 2021 (Last Updated May 27th, 2021 12:18)

The Indian Army will lease four Heron MALE drones from Israel over a three-year period to enhance its surveillance capabilities.

Indian Army to acquire four Israeli Heron drones on lease
IAI Heron on display during an air show. Credit: Tangopaso.

The Indian Army is reportedly set to lease four Heron medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) from Israel in the next few months.

The lease is for a three-year period and includes an option to extend it for a further two years.

The first two of these drones are expected to be delivered by August this year, reported The Press Trust of India.

According to media sources, an agreement to acquire the drones was concluded in mid-January this year.

Heron is primarily designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

The vehicle is equipped with automatic taxi-take-off and landing (ATOL) and satellite communication (SATCOM) systems for an extended range (ER), as well as ultra-long-range surveillance cameras and advanced gadgets.

This capability will help the Indian Army enhance its surveillance capabilities, especially along the nearly 3,400km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

Last year, a clash between the Indian Armed Forces and the Chinese counterparts in a disputed Himalayan border killed area at least 20 Indian soldiers.

In the wake of this border stand-off near Ladakh, the Indian Government granted new ‘emergency powers’ to the army to buy any weapon systems under a certain fixed allocated amount.

It is believed that the UAVs are being procured as part of this arrangement.

India is also reportedly planning to procure around 30 multi-mission armed Predator drones from the US for the three services.