Warplanes: India Orders Armed UAVs

Archives

October 9, 2015: India recently revealed that in early September 2015 it had approved the purchase of ten Israeli Heron TP UAVs. This model is equipped to carry smart bombs and guided missiles. India is paying about $40 million each for the Heron TPs. India has been buying Israeli UAVs for over a decade. The recent purchase was revealed in response to Pakistani announcing its first use of an armed UAV.

The Heron TP was developed as an unarmed surveillance aircraft, but there has been so much demand for armed UAVs that in 2013 Israel modified the Heron TP to handle weapons. The Heron TP entered squadron service in the Israeli Air Force (with 210 Squadron) in 2009. The UAV's first combat service was in 2010, when it was used off the coast of Gaza, keeping an eye on ships seeking to run the blockade.

Development of the Heron TP was largely completed in 2007, mainly for the export market, and the Israeli military was in no rush to buy it. There have been some export sales and the Israeli air force eventually realized that this was an ideal UAV for long range operations or for maritime patrol. But it turned out there were few missions like that.

Equipped with a powerful (1,200 horsepower) turboprop engine, the 4.6 ton Heron TP can operate at 14,500 meters (45,000 feet). That is above commercial air traffic and all the air-traffic-control regulations that discourage, and often forbid, UAVs fly at the same altitude as commercial aircraft. The Heron TP has a one ton payload, enabling it to carry sensors that can give a detailed view of what's on the ground, even from that high up. The endurance of 36 hours makes the Heron TP a competitor for the U.S. 4.7 ton MQ-9 Reaper. The big difference between the two is that Reaper was designed as a combat aircraft, operating at a lower altitude, with less endurance, and able to carry a ton of smart bombs or missiles. Heron TP was designed mainly for reconnaissance and surveillance especially since Israel wants to keep a closer, and more persistent, eye on Syria and southern Lebanon.

 

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close