Growing transgression along the border with China and Pakistan has forced India to adopt a state of the art weapon system. China’s failed border manoeuvrings and Pakistan’s constant effort to push terrorists in India have forced the requirement of strike-capable drones for the Indian armed forces. Following this, in March 2021, 30 armed versions of American Predator drones were finalized for the Indian Navy, Army, and Air force for about $3 billion. But, the high cost of imports and India’s aspiration for Atma-nirbhar in defence manufacturing resulted in the cancellation of the deal. Now, the government of India is expecting to procure indigenously developed strike-capable drones.
Opting for Israeli tech swadeshi drones
Quoting the government sources, ANI has recently reported that after putting the Predator drone deal with the US on hold, India is “now considering an armed UAV developed by an Indian private defence firm along with an Israeli defence manufacturer”.
Highlighting the Make in India norms in drone manufacturing, they said that “the Indian firm’s contribution to the project is as per the Make in India norms prescribed by the government for the products to qualify for being considered by the defence forces”.
Adani Elbit’s Armed UAV Hermes 900
After rejecting the American Predator drones, the government’s signal to procure armed drones from local vendors is inclined towards Adani Elbit Advanced Systems India Limited. Adani Elbit Limited is a joint venture between Adani Defence and Aerospace and Israel’s Elbit Systems Limited.
The joint venture set up its first private UAV manufacturing complex at Adani Aerospace Park in Hyderabad to “indigenise unmanned aerial platforms”. With the purpose to make India a global hub for manufacturing and exports of the unmanned platform, the joint venture started to export Hermes 900 UAV to international customers in December 2018.
Considering the constant terrorist attacks from Palestine, Hermes 900 UAV is Israel’s one of the greatest remote weapons systems. It is equipped with a variety of high-performance sensors, allowing it to detect ground or maritime targets, over a wide spectral range. With the endurance timing of 36 hours and service ceiling of 30000 feet, it can carry a payload of 350 kg.
The Israeli Defence Forces have used Hermes 900 extensively against terrorists and other aggressive Arab nations. The drone has already shown capabilities in the Gaza conflict, the Lebanon war, and strikes against Palestinian terrorists.
DRDO has already begun developing medium-altitude long-endurance drones, Tapas-BH-201. The drones have a proven capacity to fly at an altitude of 28,000ft for a whopping 18 hours. The project will be completed by 2023 and will take time to be formally inducted in armed missions.
So, considering the fast-changing conflicting situation along the border, it is very imperative for India to be ready for future wars. The decision to procure locally developed drones, with proven Israeli technology, will not only ensure the constant supply and maintenance of the drones but will also help in developing the local industry of combat drones.
After the procurement, India will be able to overcome geographical and climatic hindrances and hit deep into the enemy territory. It will ensure that India cripples its enemy without incurring any human liability.
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