Project Cheetah: Heron Drones Are to Be Upgraded and Armed With Israel’s Help

Project Cheetah: Heron Drones Are to Be Upgraded and Armed With Israel’s Help
Sources in the defence and security establishment said cost negotiations for the nearly Rs 5,000 crore project involving Herons that are in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army, and the Navy, has been completed and is in the last stage of decision making.

The development comes at a time when the Indian defence forces have also decided to jointly procure 30 High Altitude Long Endurance armed drones, MQ-9B, from the US.

At that time the IAF was planning to upgrade the Herons in use with them.
The officer explained that the other Israeli surveillance drone in use with the Indian forces, Searcher, cannot be armed because they are smaller in size.

New Delhi: After many rounds of discussions, India’s Heron drone will be upgraded and armed with the help of Israel, the “Cheetah Project” is finally ready to take off. Projects involving herons serving in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army and Navy have been completed and are in the final stages of decision-making. 


According to sources, within the framework of the project, the Israeli medium and high altitude long endurance (MALE) herons used by the three services will be upgraded. Satellite navigation and dedicated sensors, but the icing on the cake is the plan to combine them. According to the contract, the Israelis will upgrade the heron so that it can not only perform more professional and longer surveillance missions, but also perform precision strikes. 

Project Cheetah: Heron Drones Are to Be Upgraded and Armed With Israel’s Help
after several rounds of discussions, Project Cheetah, under which India’s Heron drones are to be upgraded and armed with Israel’s help, is finally set to take off

According to sources, the heron will be able to carry and launch precise air-to-surface missiles. As the situation developed, the Indian Defense Forces also decided to jointly purchase 30 high-altitude long-endurance armed UAVs MQ-9B from the United States. The source explained that the two systems are different in capacity and usage. Therefore, there is no overlap. 


The source said that after the Rafale fighter contract, the priority is the 83 TEJAS MK-1A deal signed earlier this year. Other priorities include certain missile systems. Projects initially initiated by IAF According to sources, the Cheetah The project was first initiated by IAF in 2013. 


Project Cheetah: Heron Drones Are to Be Upgraded and Armed With Israel’s Help
Sources in the defence and security establishment said cost negotiations for the nearly Rs 5,000 crore project involving Herons that are in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army, and the Navy, has been completed and is in the last stage of decision making.


At the time, the IAF was planning to upgrade the Heron used with them. Subsequently, it was decided to enhance the heron when serving in the army and navy. There is also a plan to buy armed Predator drones in bulk from the United States, but because the system proved to be very expensive, it was shelved. Heron’s goal serves its intended purpose because the idea is to equip these systems with anti-personnel and anti-armour missiles that are smaller than traditional missiles.


“The drone will operate in the disputed airspace. Because it will eventually have its own sensors and weapons, it reduces the time it takes to detect targets and launch attacks from other places. 


The idea of ​​having such a system is to reduce the risk of pilots flying fighter jets,” a former senior IAF official explained. The official explained that another Israeli unmanned reconnaissance aircraft used by the Indian army, searchers, cannot be armed because their size is smaller.



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