UAVs for land and mar­itime forces


[ By Lt General Naresh Chand (Retd)

In­dia’s land bor­ders are ex­ten­sive thus air sur­veil­lance is the ideal medium of sur­veil­lance and gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence. Ac­cord­ingly In­dia started its devel­op­ment of un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) be­sides im­port­ing UAVs. Is­rael and the US are the lead­ing coun­tries in the devel­op­ment of UAVs. In­dia se­lected Heron and Searcher UAVs from Is­rael Aerospace In­dus­tries (IAI). These have been also im­ported for the In­dian Navy as well as for the In­dian Air Force (IAF). Heron is a medium al­ti­tude long en­durance (MALE – about 30,000 feet) and thus is be­ing used in the moun­tain­ous re­gion. Searcher has a ceil­ing of about 15,000 feet and is be­ing em­ployed in the plains (Searcher Mk1) and Searcher Mk2 is be­ing used in the desert ter­rain.

Is­raeli UAVs

] IAI and El­bit man­u­fac­ture a very large va­ri­ety of strate­gic and tac­ti­cal UAVs, some of which are: Is­rael Aerospace In­dus­tries Su­per Heron: This is the lat­est MALE UAS made by IAI/Malat. The Su­per Heron was added as a link be­tween the Heron and the Heron TP UAV sys­tems. It has a new ad­vance propul­sion sys­tem specifi- cally de­vel­oped for the Su­per Heron, pro­vi­sion for large and heavy pay­loads, place for a large SATCOM an­tenna, ad­vanced avion­ics, en­durance (up to 45 hours), line of sight mis­sion ra­dius of 250 km, mis­sion ra­dius with air­borne data re­lay or ground-based data re­lay of 350 km and with SATCOM it is up to 1,000 km.

Heron TP: Heron TP is an ad­vanced, multi-pur­pose MALE UAS with an ex­tended per­for­mance en­ve­lope and a va­ri­ety of pay­loads ca­pa­bil­ity with an en­durance of 36 hours and al­ti­tude of 45,000 ft.

Searcher MkIII. Searcher MkIII is a multi-mis­sion tac­ti­cal UAS used for sur­veil­lance, re­con­nais­sance, tar­get ac­qui­si­tion, ar­tillery ad­just­ment and dam­age as­sess­ment. It has an en­durance of 18 hours, range of 350 km and al­ti­tude of 23,000 ft.

Other UAVs: Pan­ther is a uniquely de­signed fixed-wing AVTOL UAV Sys­tem with tilt-ro­tor ca­pa­bil­ity that pro­vides a re­mark­able so­lu­tion to a wide va­ri­ety of tasks when pin­point au­to­matic take­off and land­ing is a re­quire­ment. The BirdEye 650D is an ad­vanced, af­ford­able, long en­durance mini UAS and an en­hanced ver­sion of the BirdEye 650. It pro­vides real-time sta­bilised day/night im­agery data for ur­ban op­er­a­tion and over-the-hill in­tel­li­gence. El­bit Her­mes 900: Her­mes 900 is based on Her­mes 450 UAS. It is a mul­ti­role, MALE which fea­tures over-the-hori­zon, per­sis­tent multi-mis-

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