The Indian Air Force has achieved a significant enhancement in its capabilities through the introduction of the latest Heron Mark 2 drones. These advanced drones possess the ability to conduct both surveillance and strike missions along the borders with China and Pakistan in a single sortie, marking a substantial leap in their operational potential.
Indian Air Force gets mega boost
Four recently acquired Heron Mark-2 drones, designed to be armed with long-range missiles and various weapon systems, have been strategically stationed at a forward air base in the northern sector. Equipped with satellite communication capabilities, these drones have fulfilled a longstanding aspiration for the Indian Air Force. These advanced drones can operate at extensive distances for nearly 36 hours continuously, and they possess the ability to laser-illuminate adversary targets from considerable ranges. This illumination aids fighter aircraft in neutralizing these targets using their long-range weaponry.
According to defense officials, there’s an ongoing effort to equip the drones with weaponry. These drones have the potential for weaponization and can be outfitted with various types of armaments. Original equipment manufacturers are capable of integrating options such as air-to-ground missiles, air-to-ground anti-tank weapons, and bombs onto the drones.
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Squadron Leader Arpit Tandon, a Heron Mark 2 drone pilot, highlighted the manifold advantages of the new iteration of Heron drones in comparison to their predecessors. The earlier versions of these drones began their induction into the Indian Air Force during the early 2000s.
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Project Cheetah & Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is actively engaged in Project Cheetah, which aims to enhance approximately 70 Heron drones belonging to the Indian Armed Forces. This enhancement involves integrating satellite communication links and arming them to align with the specific needs of the armed forces.
Furthermore, the Indian armed forces are set to acquire 31 Predator drones categorized as high altitude, long endurance vehicles. These drones are currently being utilized by the Navy to effectively monitor extensive areas of the Indian Ocean region. The Indian version of these drones will be capable of carrying weaponry and will be equipped with sensors tailored to various roles across different terrains.
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