According to ThePrint, the Indian Army will soon lease four Israeli Heron TP drones, which will be deployed along the Line of Actual Control with China for long surveillance missions. Israel Aerospace Industries developed the Heron TP, which is as long as a Rafale (14 metres) and has twice the wingspan of the French fighter (IAI). It’s an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) for all-weather strategic missions. While the Heron TP drones can be armed if necessary, sources claim that the ones being leased by India are not.
After a clause was added to the latest version of the Defence Acquisition Procedure, the Indian Army is leasing military equipment for the first time. Under this policy, the Navy has already leased two non-weaponized General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Sea Guardian MALE UAVs from the US, but defence sources say the Israeli Heron TP performs better and is less expensive.
The Indian Army and Air Force use a mix of Heron and Searcher 2 drones from previous generations. According to sources, the Heron TP is far more capable than its predecessor.
“The Heron TP is huge. It looks like an AN-32 aircraft in size because of its large wingspan. It has a maximum take-off weight of 5,670 kg, with a maximum payload weight of 2,700 kg. The earlier generation has less than half this capacity,” a source added.