18 Mar 2014 By: Arie Egozi– FG
The Indian air force is evaluating the purchase of additional Israel Aerospace Industries Harop loitering munitions, as deliveries continue under a previous order placed in 2012.
The ground-launched Harop has some of the same capabilities as a tactical unmanned air vehicle, and features a high performance electro-optical/infrared camera. Once airborne, the system searches for, detects and attacks time-critical land- or sea-based static or moving targets, with claimed "pinpoint accuracy". IAI says the weapon can be employed across a variety of scenarios, including low and high intensity conflicts, urban warfare and counter-terrorist operations.
Such activities are monitored by an operator in a mission control shelter, who can approve or abort an engagement in real time to avoid collateral damage. Strike activities can also be conducted using a second Harop simultaneously, with this unit providing a video-based battle damage assessment, before being used to perform a follow-on attack or returning to loitering mode.
"After launch the Harop knows to stay in the air for several hours at a time, and to do so at different altitudes, up to 10,000ft [3,050m]," Boaz Levy, general manager of IAI's Missile and Space Systems division says in an article about the Harop posted on the Israeli air force website. "The ability to change altitudes opens up the possibility of synchronising the time and direction to the target," he adds.
The Indian armed forces have used a previous version of the system, Harpy, for some years.