Indian Armed Forces buys MALE Unmanned Aerial Systems from Israel

It has been reported that the three Indian Armed Force recently have contracted two Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) each through the fourth tranche of emergency procurements sanctioned by the government recently, all from Israel.

The contracts have been concluded and the deliveries are expected early next year.

While the Army and Navy have procured the Hermes 900 manufactured by Elbit Systems, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has procured the Heron Mk2 from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Previously, in 2021, the Army had contracted four Heron-Mk2 UAS which were inducted last year which can be equipped with strike capabilities in the northern sector.

Out of the four Heron-MK2, two were deployed at Leh while the other two were in Eastern Command area late last year.

Initially, the idea was to lease them IAI but after evaluation of the cost, the Army went for their purchase.

Notably, the Indian Army is looking to create a separate cadre of UAV operators and the proposal is currently under consideration by the Army Headquarters.

Undeniably the induction of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) Heron MKII and planned induction of Hermes 900 Star liners will boost the reconnaissance and surveillance capability of Indian Army.

Besides, also their teaming with combat helicopters will prove to be a game changer in the third dimension.

Also, worth mentioning that Adani Aerospace and Defence in partnership with Elbit Systems – Adani Elbit UAV Complex – manufactures the complete carbon composite aerostructures for Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 in Hyderabad.

Besides, there is also a major upgrade plan lined up for all the Heron to Mk2 for weaponisation and facilitation of SATCOM capability estimated to cost of Rs 21,000 crore.

However, that has been long delayed and officials expressed confidence that it would be cleared soon.

About Hermes 900 Starliner MALE Unmanned Aerial Systems

It as a powerful and trend setting MALE UAV that features adverse weather capabilities and qualified to be safely integrated into civilian airspace and fly in the same environment with manned aircraft.

Following are the brief specifications of Hermes 900 Starliner MALE UAS:-

  • Max Takeoff weight: 1,600Kg
  • Max Payload: 450Kg
  • Endurance: up to 36 h
  • Service Ceiling: 30,000ft