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Indian Army to induct more drones to boost stealth power

A file photo of Heron UAV. -- Image Credit: MoD

NEW DELHI (BNS): To boost the Army’s surveillance and intelligence gathering capability, the Defence Ministry has approved induction of more spy drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the forces.

As heightened vigil is becoming critical in the eastern and western fronts of the country and also in the vast coastline, procurement of the drones will help the armed forces strengthen its snooping power, according to a report in The Times of India.

The Army will acquire two more troops of advanced Heron UAVs from Israel for Rs 1,118 crore which has been approved by the Defence Ministry. Each troop will consist of 6-8 UAVs.

Besides, it has also projected a requirement of seven troops of Rustom drones being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Aeronautical Development Establishment in partnership with Israel, the report said.

“As a MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drone, Rustom will be capable of operating for 24 hours, with a 300-km range and a 10,000-metre maximum altitude. Army, of course, is already inducting the indigenous Nishant and Lakshya UAVs,” the news daily said.

The forces’ regular infantry units as well as its special (Para) forces will get the drones for covert missions behind the enemy lines and counter-terrorism operations.

The Army also has plans to induct a large number of man-portable mini and micro UAVs for short-range surveillance and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) detection in the battlefield.

The Army’s present arsenal includes over 100 UAVs, mainly Israeli-made Searcher-IIs and Herons. Plans are afoot to induct US-made ‘Predator’ drones in the forces.

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