India is looking to purchase 15 HAROP anti-radiation drones from Israel.
The Air Force already has an inventory of these drones equipped with electro-optical sensors to loiter over high-value military targets, such as surveillance bases and radar stations before exploding them, ANI reported.
"A proposal to acquire these attack drones is expected to be discussed by the Defence Ministry at a high-level meeting in the coming week to strengthen the fleet of such drones in the Air Force," the report quoted a defence source as saying.
If approved, the Air Force will be exercising the option clause in the previous deal signed a few years ago with Israel, which is the main supplier of all types of drones to the Air Force.
India is also discussing "Project Cheetah" with Israel under which almost all the drones of the three services would be turned into high-quality attack drones and their surveillance capabilities would also be enhanced.
The three branches of the armed forces have a fleet of more than 100 of these unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been acquired over the years in different batches.
The forces are also working on developing indigenous combat drones which would be deployed on both the China and Pakistan border once the project is complete.
HAROP is developed by Israel Aerospace Industry. It can autonomously home in on radio emissions. Rather than holding a separate high-explosive warhead, the drone itself is the main munition.
The UAV has SEAD-optimised loitering munition is designed to loiter the battlefield and attack targets by self-destructing close them.
The UAV can either operate fully autonomously, using its anti-radar homing system, or it can take a human-in-the-loop mode. If a target is not engaged, the drone will return and land itself back at base. It has been designed to have a minimal radar-signature allowing it to perform stealth operations.
HAROP drones are designed to target enemy air-defense systems in a first line of attack, as the small drone can evade SAMs and radar detection systems which are designed to target much larger aircraft or to intercept fixed-trajectory missiles.
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