IAF to upgrade Israeli-made UAV fleet
The IAF is planning to join hands with an Israeli firm to upgrade the UAVs of the three services under a project worth over ` 5,000 crore to enhance their snooping capabilities. The three services operate a fleet of over 150 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) procured from the Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) over the last few decades.
The IAF flies the Israeli-made Searcher II and Heron UAVs for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes and about 100 Searchers are in operation on Indian borders in western, northern and eastern regions. After the upgrades, the IAF would be capable of operating these aircraft from faroff distances and control them through satellite communication system.
The army also operates a sizeable number of UAVs and has deployed them in borders along the western and eastern fronts. The army was the first to induct UAVs in the 1990s starting with Searcher Mark I and Searcher Mark II which could operate at an altitude of 15,000 feet and finally the Heron, which could operate at 30,000 feet.
The navy has also three operational squadrons of the Israeli UAVs deployed along both the eastern and the western sea board.