India is exploring possibilities to manufacture Heron TP drone offered by Israel under “Make in India” with total transfer of technology.
India is seeking to manufacture the drone through a joint venture with Israel Aerospace Industries. “The decision on acquisition will be taken before the Prime Minister visits Tel Aviv in July on his return from the G-20 meeting in Hamburg,” an official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times today.
Israel has offered to sell India its armed unmanned aerial vehicles Eitan or Heron TP in order to strengthen its stand-off strike as well as long-range strategic strike capability.
The offer is still being discussed as the India is keen to bring it under unmanned weapon through “Make in India” route.
New Delhi has been keen in acquiring armed medium-high altitude, long-endurance UAVs with payload capability in the form of laser-guided bombs or air-to-ground missiles with the security establishment convinced that long range stand-off weapons would perform major role during direct engagement in future conflicts.
In this context, Indian military has been eyeing towards the US and Israel for acquiring Predators or Heron TPs.
While the US is expected to allow sale of General Atomics-developed Guardian UAV as a first step towards either the Predator or Reaper Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) to India, Tel Aviv has already made a formal offer for the Heron TP to the defense ministry.
Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Heron TP can fly at a height of 35,000 feet, has a flight endurance of up to 52 hours and carries a weapon payload.
India has Heron UAVs in service with the air force already, where they are being used for surveillance as well as in the target acquisition and reconnaissance role.