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India’s military is acquiring advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance its surveillance and tactical capabilities. This comes after Adani Defence delivered four indigenously-produced Hermes-900 drones, procured by the Indian Army and Navy.

The Hermes-900 is a medium-sized, multi-payload, long-endurance UAV designed for tactical missions. The Indian Air Force (IAF), however, opted for the Heron Mk II, a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV, acquiring four units.

This collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) extends beyond procurement. IAI is partnering with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for potential local assembly of these UAVs, particularly if the IAF expresses interest in acquiring more units.

The IAF’s initial plan was to procure 12-15 MALE UAVs. The indigenously developed Tapas UAV was a contender, but the program encountered technical hurdles and is undergoing refinement by DRDO. But it has not been ruled out completely as DRDO is refining the product to meet AF requirements.

The IAF’s decision on further Heron Mk II purchases will likely depend on the performance evaluation of these drones and the progress made in resolving the Tapas program’s issues.

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