(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) India is scheduled to receive 10 advanced Heron TP drones from Israel this summer, India's Economic Times reported Monday. The drones were purchased in 2015 for a reported $400 million, and their delivery is scheduled to take place ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jerusalem in July, the report said.
Produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Heron TP drones are the manufacturer's most advanced unmanned aerial vehicles, designed for both reconnaissance as well as combat and support roles. The Heron has the ability to stay airborne for up to 40 hours, and has a maximum takeoff weight of 5,300 kilograms (about 12,000 pounds) and a payload of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds).
Further, the Heron TP drones are capable of detecting, tracking and intercepting targets with air-to-surface missiles. The drones have been on the Indian military's wish list for years, the Economic Times noted.
During his visit, Modi plans to advance the strategic partnership between Israel and India.
The Indian Air Force already has a fleet of IAI-made Harpy unmanned aerial vehicles, but unlike the Heron, Harpy drones are not equipped with missiles, as they are designed to take out enemy radar positions. India also has a fleet of IAI Searcher surveillance and intelligence-gathering drones.
The Heron drones will allow India "the option of taking out large terrorist camps or individual targets in hostile territory with minimal risk,” according to the report.