New Delhi: The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) long-pending nearly Rs 5,000 crore ‘Project Cheetah’ is finally set to take off. Under this project, India’s Heron drones are to be upgraded and armed with Israel’s help to carry out offensive operations against the enemy.
90 Heron drones of the three services – Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian Army, and the Indian Navy will be upgraded with laser-guided bombs, air to ground, and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles. This project is in the last stage of decision-making.
This upgrade will include enabling the Herons with the capability of satellite navigation and specialised sensors. The newly equipped drones will help the IAF in keeping an eye on enemy locations from far distances and will also help them in controlling them through the satellite communication system. It will give them the ability to not only undertake more specialised and longer surveillance missions but also precision strikes. The Herons will have the capability to carry and launch air-to-ground precision missiles. Project Cheetah was first initiated by the IAF in 2013. At that time the IAF was planning to upgrade the Herons in use with them.
The Made in Israel, Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a medium-altitude UAV and can carry up to 250 kg of weight including a thermographic camera, airborne ground surveillance visible light, radar systems, etc. The Heron UAV is capable of returning to base autonomously in case of lost communication.