Indian Army inducted 2 Heron MK-II UAVs in Tawang sector, which is procured on a lease from Israel. Another 2 will be inducted soon.

India acquired 4 Heron MK-II drones with a 3-year lease under emergency procurement in August 2021.

The deal, worth some $200 million, New Delhi decided to purchase the platforms as part of the country’s plans to upgrade its military amid the ongoing border conflict with China.

Heron MK-II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and is an updated model of the Heron UAV, which is used by the Indian Air Force and now the Army will be equipped with requisite number of these advanced UAVs.

It was reported that the Indian Air Force’s plan, dubbed “Project Cheetah,” will see 90 Heron drones flying with the Indian Air Force, Indian Army, and Indian Navy be upgraded with laser-guided bombs, air-to-ground and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles.

The Indian Air Force already operates more than 180 Israeli-made UAVs, including 108 IAI-made Searchers and 68 unarmed Heron 1s for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as a fleet of IAI-produced Harpy UAVs, which carry a high-explosive warhead and self-destructs to take out targets such as radar stations.

Heron MK-II is a strategic and versatile aircraft capable of carrying diverse payloads. Fitted with a Rotax 915 engine, the Heron MK-II can reach an altitude of over 10,000 meters (35,000 Feet), a maximum speed of 140 knots, and can remain in the air for 45 consecutive hours.