New Delhi: With all major import deals being either put on hold or scrapped by the Narendra Modi government, the Indian Air Force is now planning to go ahead with its Project Cheetah under the Make in India route where Indian defence manufacturers would arm the Israeli Heron drones with strike capabilities.

Under the ambitious Project Cheetah, the Indian Air Force wants to upgrade its existing fleet of Israeli-origin Heron unmanned aerial vehicles with better communication facilities and missiles which can target enemy positions from long range.

As per plans, the project was to be completed with Israeli weapon manufacturers.

"Now, the IAF is planning to go ahead with the upgrade of its drones by involving Indian defence firms under Make in India in defence," government sources told ANI.

The IAF is the main lead in the project under which the Israeli drones in the Navy and the Army are also planned to be upgraded with strike capabilities and better surveillance and reconnaissance pods.

The three services for a long time have depended upon IAF Israeli-made Searcher-II and Heron UAVs for reconnaissance and snooping purposes.

With the upgrade in snooping capabilities, the forces on the ground would also be able to get pinpoint intelligence about hideouts in areas where men have to be involved in operations.

The upgrades would also enable the ground stations to operate these aircraft from far-off distances and control them through a satellite communication system.

The surveillance capabilities of the UAVs planned to be upgraded would be similar to the ones that have been acquired by the Indian Army and IAF under the emergency acquisition powers granted to the forces by the government in wake of the ongoing military stand-off.