HomeIndian DefenceIndian Armed Forces Plans Procurement of 91 Israeli Heron Mark 2 Drones

Indian Armed Forces Plans Procurement of 91 Israeli Heron Mark 2 Drones

Source : Times now

Indian Armed Forces Plans Procurement of 91 Israeli Heron Mark 2 Drones
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Limited’s Heron Mark 2 MALE UAV

Indian Armed Forces Plans Procurement of 91 Israeli Heron Mark 2 Drones

New Delhi: While the Indian Navy is getting its first Hermes Starliner unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the Adani-Elbit combine, plans for the armed forces getting 91 Israeli drones are in the process.

The Army will get 2 Indo-Israeli Starliners as part of the emergency procurement plan as will the Navy, which probably plans to have them stationed in Porbandar, Gujarat. But the UAV deal, which could be be the Starliner or the Heron Mark 2 would mean the Indian Army getting 27 “birds,” the Indian Air Force getting 42 and the Navy, the remaining 22. If the number does increase to 97, all three will get 1-2 more.

According to India’s atmanirbharata or self reliance policy, the UAVs can be partly or wholly made in India or at least assembled here. So, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) or Elbit will have to find an Indian partner for the Rs 30,000 crore deal. It is still too early to talk about the Indian partner as no decision has been taken, but two possibilities are Hindustan Aeronautics for IAI and the Adanis for Elbit. There can be others as well.

BSP 61474 JDW 22892
IAI Heron Mark 2 specifications

There are already efforts to ensure that the deal is finalised before the code of conduct is announced. That is the first step the Election Commission will make before the Lok Sabha elections and after that, no major decisions can be taken. Which means that a decision, if not taken before early March (when the code of conduct is likely to be announced) will have to wait till June after the new government settles in. But whether that can actually happen remains to be seen.

The Heron 2 and Starliner are capable UAVs and can fly for long hours at over 30,000 feet. Both will be useful for the armed forces

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