India’s most potent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) the Israel-made Herons are, as you read, being re-deployed from bases on our western borders to those in the east, along the 4057 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). The relentless aggression of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) seems to have finally forced the army’s hand. Army, as a part of its larger plan, wants to replace all its Searcher MK II UAVs, which it presently fields along the LAC with the Herons so as to bolster surveillance and monitoring capabilities.
It has been learnt that this proposal, which came directly from the ground formations deployed along the LAC, has been agreed upon by the army top brass. A formal communication to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be soon made towards seeking the budget for the same and processing it further.
| HERON TP
All weather capable Can operate above commercial airline traffic
|SEARCHER MK III|
|Endurance||36 hours||18 hours|
|Range||Beyond Line of Sight (USING Satellite Communication)||
|Mission payload||1000 kg||120 kg|
“The issue with Searchers is that in terms of endurance and height ceiling, it is just not doing it for us. The demand for Herons has come primarily out of that reason,” said a senior officer who had recently commanded a division. In fact the situation has reached alarming proportions. It was learnt that last year, army’s Eastern Command had sent an urgent missive to its Southern Command asking for its Herons to be loaned. The Southern Command which was not utilising them all was asked to part with them following an intervention from the army headquarters.