India will soon get four advanced Israeli Heron Mark-II drones, which can stay airborne for 45 hours at a stretch, in a major boost to its strategic surveillance capabilities along the Line of Actual Control with China.
The first two Heron-II unmanned aerial vehicles will be delivered to the Army in the next two to three months, with the other two coming in before the year ends, under the lease agreement inked with Israel.
Lease of the four satellite communication-enabled Heron Mark-II drones is part of the major plan underway to ensure gapfree and real time surveillance through a wide array of drones, sensors, reconnaissance and electronic warfare equipment along the entire 3,488-km LAC with China.
The three-year lease of the four Heron Mark-II drones is the second such case of the Rs 500 crore emergency financial powers being used by the armed forces to bolster their long-range surveillance capabilities amidst the ongoing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh since early-May last year.
The Navy is already extensively using two MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones, variants of the iconic armed Predator drones, for surveillance missions over the Indian Ocean.