Explained: Indian Army to deploy advanced Israeli Drones Heron TP against China at LAC
Heron TP: Why in the News?
Indian Army would very soon receive four advanced Israeli drones, Heron TP and deploy them at the LAC to keep a check on Chinese activities as a follow up of the conflict that took place in Ladakh last year. Recently Israel has also been in news due to the Gaza attacks.
What had happened?
It was in 2020 when the Chinese soldiers had a spat with the Indian soldiers regarding an attempt by the former to alter the status quo at the Line of Actual Control. This time too in the first week of May the two parties had a minor face off in the three kilometre buffer zone in the Galwan Valley.
Since the stand off last year India had increased patrolling in the area with increased deployment of soldiers there.
Now the Heron Drones would be arriving in India and would be deployed at LAC to increase the surveillance too.
Drones in Indian Army:
- The Indian Army would be for the first time leasing military equipment, after this clause was introduced in the latest version of the Defence Acquisition Procedure.
- The Navy however is experienced in this aspect. They have two non weaponized General Atomics Aeronautical Systems leased from the USA under this policy. They are called MQ-9B Sea Guardian.
- Indian Air Force (IAF) has also acquired a large number of anti-tank guided missiles, long-range precision-guided artillery shells along with the Hammer air-to-ground standoff missiles through the same policy.
What is Heron TP Drone?
- IAI has made the Heron TP as a multiple role and advanced aerial system.
- It is long range and so is called the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).
- It is equipped with automatic taxi-takeoff and landing systems (ATOL)
- It also has a satellite communication (SATCOM) for extended range
- The drone is equipped with fully redundant avionics
- It payloads can be M-19 HD Electro Optical Payload (TV & IR Combi or Multi Sensor TV/IR/LRF/LD), WIDEEYE Scan, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Communications Intelligence (COMINT - HF, VHF, UHF/ DF), Global System Mobile (GSM), Electronic Support Measures /Electronic intelligence (ESM/ELINT) etc.
Technical Features of the Heron TP Drone:
Take a look at the table below for the details:
|Max. Take-off Weight--5,670 kg||Endurance > 30 h|
|Max Payload Weight--2,700 kg||Range BLOS > 1000 km|
|Overall Length--14 m||Altitude > 45,000 ft|
Max speed--220 KTAS
|Power plant--1,200 hp PT6 Turbo Prop|
Where are Israeli Drones in operation?
- Israel's defense force
- Indian Air Force
- Brazilian Federal Police
- Turkish Air Force
The Heron can carry many sensors and thermographic cameras also. It is capable of carrying intelligence equipment like COMINT and ELINT that can total upto 250 kgs.
Significance in Indian Army:
China has recently developed an unmanned aerial vehicle which it plans to deploy at LAC. The UAV would be effective against freezing weather and would have plateau operations capabilities too.
These drones that would be flying in Tibet's region would be a great help to China for keeping an eye on Indian forces. Thus Indian Forces had to counter this act by leasing Heron TP which is tried and tested against all odds in the region.