India has signed total $1.4billion worth contracts with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the purchase of two Phalcon/IL-76 Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and 10 Heron TP unmanned air vehicles (UAVs)
The contracts were signed in New Delhi on 16th November, Air&cosmos International reported today.
The two contracts were signed during the recent visit of Israeli President Reuven Rivil to India. The deal for AWACS alone valued $1 billion.
An Indian Air force (IAF) official said the purchase of two AWACS has been pending for the past five years and the deliveries should be made within the next two to three years.
Further the remaining $400 million was spent on 10 armed Heron TP UAV, which are expected to be delivered over next two to three years.
According to the IAF official, the Indian Heron TPs will have sophisticated communication & intelligence systems, detection finders, signal parameters and emitter classification and geo-location capabilities, in addition to electronic surveillance measure for long-range automatic detection and identification of emitting targets.
Indian Heron TPs will be capable of launching guided munitions and lightweight tactical missiles.
Currently the three Indian defence forces operate around 60 Heron UAVs but it is not known if they are really weaponised . The three Indian defence forces have a joint requirement of over 200 weaponised UAVs in the next 10 years.
IAI has also given a proposal to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to jointly develop an advanced version of Heron UAV in India. However, the ruling National Democratic Alliance government wants all future UAV requirements to be met through the Make in India initiative.
Israeli Searcher Mark 1 & II, Heron and Heop UAVs are currently used by Indian defence forces.