The Indian military is in the process of acquiring a number of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron Mk II unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to supplement its existing fleet of Herons. A proposal to manufacture the aircraft in India under licence is also being discussed, Janes has learnt during DefExpo 2022, being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October reports Janes .

IAI is said to be delivering a batch of Heron MK-IIs to the Indian Army (IA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) as part of an emergency procurement. Janes understands that the initial delivery comprises an estimated 10 aircraft. The army had not commented on the matter to Janes at the time of publication.

According to IAI, the first Heron MK-IIs delivered to the IAF and the army are undergoing on-site functional testing. “ We are doing the training for the operators and we are proving the capability of the MK-II,” IAI said. “We are taking the hard way – we have taken a challenge to start this induction from the toughest area at Leh, at a height of 10,000 ft.”

Information held by Janes said that the contract was signed in July–August.

IAI and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told Janes during DefExpo 2022 that a contract for HAL to licence-produce the MK-II is under discussion. “The decision on production is currently under way,” a HAL representative said . “Once finalised, all production activities will be conducted at Nashik [in India].”