In what can be a major boost to the defence sector in the country, India is likely to sign a deal with Israel during PM Modi’s three day visit to get Heron-TP armed drones. According to a report in Economic Times, India may soon get ten Heron-TP armed drones which are a part of $400 million deal that was secretly approved by the defence ministry in September 2015.
After India became a part of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016, the road to acquire the drones was cleared. The drone was at display at the AeroIndia show in Bengaluru in February.
Also called as Eitan drug, the Heron TP-armed drones, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, can help India in cross-border strikes with less potential damage to the personnel. The drones are also capable of detecting, tracking and taking down targets with air to ground missiles.
According to the website of Israel Aerospace Industries, Heron-TP is an advanced, Medium Altutude Long Endurnace (MALE) drone that can fly upto an altitude of 45,000 feet. The drone has an all-weather capablity making it perfect for combat at all times. It has an endurance of over 30 hours and can usually carry a payload of not more than 1,000 kgs. The drone is also in compliant with the ATOL (Automatic Taxi-Takeoff-Landing) system and is also compatible with NATO standards.
A report in Financial Express suggest that the Heron-TP drone is autonomous and can be supervised by a single operator without the need for any external pilot.