Sunday, October 15, 2017

Israel's Heron TP Armed Drone May Not Find Its Way to Indian Skies

The Indian defense ministry approved the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones last year and a final deal with the Israeli manufacturer was in the offing. However, the imposition of restrictions by the Israeli defense ministry has pushed the deal towards uncertainty as India's proposal for the purchase posed a mandatory requirement of transfer of technology from the foreign vendor.

In July of this year, Israel had exhibited keen interest in supplying combat drones to India with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signing memorandums of understanding (MoU) with India's Dynamatic Technologies and Elcom for the "manufacture of Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAVs in India under technology transfer from IAI & creation of futuristic UAV enterprise in India." The MoUs were signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit which was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel.
"The future is unmanned. Most Air Forces are working to have an uninhabited air vehicle for every possible mission. The USA already has more UAVs than aircraft. India must become an independent UAV manufacturer. No one will give technology. (We should either) beg, borrow or steal the technology…Use economic muscle like China did…Increase research funding," Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired), defense analyst told Sputnik.

With the restrictions in sharing of advanced technologies, the Israel Aerospace Industries will find it extremely difficult to convince India to buy it's million dollar combat drones. For India's part, it would have to explore the possibility of a favorable deal with other contenders like American General Atomics Aeronautical Systems which is interested in selling the MQ-9 Reaper to India.

Israel Aerospace Industries also announced a new export-version of the Heron TP on February 9th of this year at the AeroIndia exhibition in Bengaluru. The export version of Heron TP was meant for members of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of which India became a member in June 2016.
14/10/17 Sputnik
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