India is planning to arm their Israel-origin Heron Drones / UAVs with laser-guided munitions and anti-tank missiles amid escalating border tensions with China, according to reports by Indian news agency – ANI.
The Project Cheetah has been revived by the Indian security forces after being pending for a long time and is expected to cost over Rs 3,500 crores to the government. “Under this project, around 90 Heron drones of the three services would be upgraded to be armed with laser-guided bombs, air to ground and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles,” government sources told ANI.
In the proposal, the armed forces have proposed to equip the drones with stronger surveillance and reconnaissance payloads for keeping an eye on enemy locations and stations and take them out, if required.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, India plans to acquire for Heron drones and Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) from Israel under the emergency financial powers granted by the government according to reports the ANI.
The Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are already in the Air Force, Navy, and the Army and are being used extensively at the moment by both Army surveillance and Target acquisition batteries and Air Force in the Ladakh sector.
“There is a need for acquisition of Heron UAVs to add to the existing fleet of these drones for meeting the requirements of our Air Force fleet. We are planning to place orders for these UAVs,” government sources told ANI here without specifying the numbers to be procured.
The Heron has been in service with the three defence wings for several years now and can fly continuously for more than two days at a stretch providing reconnaissance from an altitude of more than 10 kilometres.
The forces are also working towards inducting an armed version of the UAV, as well as upgrading the existing fleet into combat UAVs under the ambitious ‘Project Cheetah’ spearheaded by the Indian Air Force.