UAVs in In­dia

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation Defence & Inindia -

The In­dian Army was the first ser­vice to ac­quire Un­manned Aerial Ve­hi­cles (UAV) in form of Is­rael Aero­space In­dus­tries (IAI) Searcher Mark I, fol­lowed by the Searcher Mark II and fi­nally the Heron Medium Al­ti­tude Long En­durance (MALE) UAV. The Searcher Mark II is be­ing suc­cess­fully used in the moun­tains as also in the plains and semideserts. The In­dian Air Force quickly built up a sim­i­lar in­ven­tory, while the In­dian Navy (IN) ac­quired the Searcher Mark II and Heron for long range mar­itime sur­veil­lance mis­sions, op­er­at­ing them from Kochi and Por­ban­dar.

Back­bone of the fleet is the fourth gen­er­a­tion GPS-en­abled Heron / Machatz 1 MALE UAV, de­signed and manufactured by Is­rael Aero­space In­dus­tries ( IAI) at its Malat divi­sion, in part­ner­ship with the Cana­dian com­pany Mac­Don­ald, Det­twiler& As­so­ciates ( MDA). Heron en­tered op­er­a­tional ser­vice with the In­dian Air Force in high-al­ti­tude land sur­veil­lance near moun­tain­ous bor­ders, and in IN ser­vice for mar­itime pa­trol mis­sions. Heron has proved to be ca­pa­ble of fully au­to­mated take-off and land­ing, even un­der ad­verse weather con­di­tions. Fly­ing at a height of 30,000ft, the UAV pro­vides op­er­a­tors with real-time in­for­ma­tion on en­emy bat­tle­fields/ ac­tiv­i­ties by per­form­ing In­for­ma­tion, Sur­veil­lance, Tar­get Ac­qui­si­tion and Re­con­nais­sance ( ISTAR) ac­tiv­i­ties over wide ar­eas in sup­port of na­tional agen­cies, theatre com­man­ders and lower ech­e­lons us­ing mul­ti­ple sen­sors and Satel­lite Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (SATCOM) for ex­tend­e­drange cap­ture and trans­fer of crit­i­cal data.

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