NEW DELHI — The Indian air force (IAF) is studying present and future requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles in its fleet.
“We are ready to induct more drones in view of their capability to perform specific tasks on the borders,” says IAF training command chief Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja. “We can have more of them if the government sanctions additional funds, as there is a cost factor to it.”
Acquisition of the latest combat aircraft and warfare systems, including drones and missiles, is a continuous process.
As a remotely piloted vehicle, drones are flown at borders for collecting information on adversaries and relayed for further action.
Israel manufactures a wide array of drones, including one of the largest and most advanced models in the world—the Heron TP Eitan—which costs an estimated $35 million.
With a wingspan of 26 meters (85 ft.) it is the size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet and can reach an altitude of 12,000 meters.
The IAF flies the Israeli-made Searcher II and Heron for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes.
About 100 Searchers are in operation on Indian borders in western, northern and eastern regions.
The air force also operates Lakshya as a towed aerial sub-target for live fire training.