Govern­ment clears pro­posal for buy­ing 15 Heron UAVs


The In­dian Govern­ment has cleared the pro­cure­ment of 15 un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) from Is­rael at a cost of around ` 1,200-crore. A pro­posal to pro­cure these Heron UAVs was ap­proved by the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity headed by Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh at a re­cent meet­ing.

The ` 1,200-crore pro­posal for procur­ing the UAVs will bol­ster the Is­raeli-ori­gin Heron and Searcher fleet of the force which de­ploys them on both the east­ern and west­ern sec­tors. The force has a fleet of more than 40 such ve­hi­cles, which are ex­pected to un­dergo up­grades in the near fu­ture.

The In­dian Air Force (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 air force would be ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing these air­craft from faroff dis­tances and con­trol them through satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem.

The In­dian 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 can op­er­ate at 30,000 feet.

Army’s North­ern Com­mand had re­cently is­sued a global ten­der for procur­ing lat­est minia­ture un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles for gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence and car­ry­ing out re­con­nais­sance of ar­eas along the Line of Con­trol (LoC) with Pak­istan and Sino-In­dia bor­der.

The In­dian Navy has also three oper­a­tional squadrons of the Is­raeli UAVs de­ployed along both the east­ern and the west­ern sea boards.

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