Friday, July 07, 2017

India to get armed UAVs from Israel: Drones are potent add-ons to military but human intelligence makes them lethal

Away from the media hype that surrounded the first ever visit of an Indian prime minister to Israel, is the news of another "first". The delivery of Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from a country that can justly claim to have revolutionised the use of such platforms in battle.

For India, this is a considerable jump in a long overdue capability. Long overdue, because Israel demonstrated the imaginative use of such unmanned aircraft in war way back in 1982 against the Syrian Air Force. Robotic aircraft had been around long before that and were used in reconnaissance operations in the Vietnam War, much to the disgust of air veterans. The air force fighter boys turned up their noses at the admittedly ugly aircraft versions and predicted their speedy end.
Instead, the roles may have been reversed. There are those who predict the end of the fighter era, as better engines, fuels, and materials have resulted in UAVs becoming more capable across various parameters. The main issue is not just what they can carry – surveillance cameras, listening devices and the likes, but more importantly and really the key, the ability to fly for long hours.

This means an ability to go deep into enemy territory and even loiter at a height that is in some cases more than that of a commercial aircraft. In the continuous interplay between offensive and defensive systems, radar has still to catch up in terms of detecting a UAV. In the case of the Indian buy, the Heron TP, it is said to be capable of travelling up to 36 hours, at a height of above 30,000 ft.
07/07/17 Tara Kartha/First Post