The Indian Air Force (IAF) could soon acquire the armed version of the Israeli “Heron” drones called Heron TP which the IAF currently uses at present.
Reports suggest that talks are on to acquire 10 “Heron TP” version of the heron family. The Ministry of Defence had okayed the proposal in May last year.
“We are working to finalise the deal worth approximately $400 million,” the report states. This could be the first drone (in India) to have a missile-strike capability which can be used to hit at targets without sending a man on the mission.’
At present, the IAF has a fleet of Israeli “Harop” drones, which are self-destructing “kamikaze” style drones which can smash into high-value enemy targets. The Indian Air Force already has an inventory of 110 Harop drones with another 54 in the pipeline.
The Heron TP also called IAI Eitan is a newer version of the IAI Heron. It is is an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft developed in Israel by the Malat division of Israel Aerospace Industries.
The Indian government had earlier quietly cleared the purchase of 10 missile-armed drones from Israel — a critical procurement that will enhance India’s cross-border military strike capability.
The Indian Air Force also has a fleet of Harpy UAVs from Israel, which are self-destructing systems primarily tasked with taking out enemy radar positions. Heron TP drones can carry a payload of over 1,000 kg and will be equipped with air-to-ground missiles that detect, track and take down targets deep in enemy territory.