Israeli Heron TP drones : an eye on China | IAI Eitan | heron tp specifications, Price

Heron TP drones 

The Indian forces are set to get a major boost to their surveillance capabilities. The Indian Army will soon get four Heron TP drones on lease from Israel, which will be deployed along the Line of Actual Control with China for long surveillance missions. 

While the Heron TP drones are capable of being armed if needed,  as per reports, the ones being leased by India are non-weaponized versions. The lease is for a period of three years with an option of another two years, but costs are not being divulged. The three-year lease agreement was signed under “emergency powers” granted by the Indian government to the military in the midst of the border stand-off with China. This is the first time the Indian Army will be leasing a platform. 

Israeli Heron TP drones : an eye on China | IAI Eitan | heron tp specifications, Price
Israeli Heron TP drones

Background

On 15th June 2019, Indian & Chinese soldiers clashed in eastern Ladakh's Galway Valley. The valley refers to the land between steep mountains and the Galway River. It is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east. Both India & China had suffered significant casualties. 

The Indian Army stated that 20 Army personnel while China didn’t disclose its numbers. U.S officials quoting intelligence sources said that the Chinese army suffered 35 casualties and stated that China didn’t disclose its number as it has come as a major embarrassment for the communist regime. Though multiple talks between the two countries have taken place at different levels since then, significant troop withdrawal has also been witnessed, tensions have not died down. The conflict seems to have fundamentally changed India's view of China and it is now much more conscious. 

What is IAI Heron Drone

The IAI Heron is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Malat (UAV) division of Israel aerospace industries

Israel aerospace industries.
Israel aerospace industries

Features of IAI Heron Drone

IAI Heron Drone is capable of Medium Altitude Long Endurance(MALE) operations of up to 52 hours' duration at up to 10.5 km (35,000 ft). While it demonstrated 52 hours of continuous flight, but the effective operational maximal flight duration is less, according to payload and flight profile. 

The Heron navigates using an internal GPS navigation device, and either a pre-programmed flight profile (in which case the system is fully autonomous from takeoff to landing), manual override from a ground control station, or a combination of both. 

It can autonomously return to base and land in case of lost communication with the ground station. The system has fully automatic launch and recovery (ALR) and all-weather capabilities. 

The Heron can carry an array of sensors, including thermographic camera (infrared) and visible-light airborne ground surveillance, intelligence systems (COMINT and ELINT), and various radar systems, totaling up to 250 kg (550 lb). 

The Heron is also capable of target acquisition and artillery adjustment. The payload sensors communicate with the ground control station in real-time, using either a direct line of sight data link or via an airborne/satellite relay. 

Like the navigation system, the payload can also be used in either a fully pre-programmed autonomous mode, or manual real-time remote operation, or a combination of both. 

The Heron TP is also known as the IAI Eitan, is an advanced version and reportedly has a much better anti-jamming capability & communication system

Need of IAI Heron Drone

The long borders of India need constant monitoring. Drone deployment for surveillance is not new for India. Indian Army and the Indian Air Force already operate a large fleet of Heron drones, which are currently being upgraded with the latest systems, including new communication links. 

The fleet size is 90, about 75 are operated by the Indian Air Force. The Indian Navy has already leased two non-weaponized General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from the US. 

The drones landed in India at the peak of the standoff. Impressed with the performance of the two leased Sea Guardian drones, the Indian Navy, Indian Army, and Indian Air Force will jointly procure 30 armed versions of the American unmanned aerial system. 

Drone are cheaper to acquire, operate and maintain when compared to manned aircraft. This has resulted in them being used extensively by many militaries around the world. 

Aerial surveillance provided by Heron will help with coordination between the air force and ground troops. Situation awareness is a key element of successful performance on the modern battlefield. Updated information can help military planners use their resources both -men & material optimally. This is especially important for forward-deployed units. 

Israel is one of the best when it comes to developing surveillance tech. The manufacturer of Heron TP Israel AerospaceIndustries or IAI is known for its expertise in surveillance tech

China's aggressive posturing has meant that India can no longer be complacent and the holes need to be plugged on an urgent basis. Heron TP's capabilities make it a good fit and make sense. 

Also Read Comparison of Israel's Iron Dome Vs Russian S-400, Price, Success Rate

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