- Air Force already has an inventory of these drones
- Israel's HAROP drones can crash into high-value enemy targets
- India is also developing home-made combat drones
In a bid to enhance its unmanned warfare capability, the Air Force is planning to acquire 15 more HAROP attack drones that can crash into high-value enemy military targets to destroy them completely.
The Air Force already has an inventory of these drones equipped with electro-optical sensors to loiter over high-value military targets, such as surveillance bases and radar stations before exploding them.
"A proposal to acquire these attack drones is expected to be discussed by the Defence Ministry at a high-level meeting in the coming week to strengthen the fleet of such drones in the Air Force," a defence source told ANI.
If approved, the Air Force will be exercising the option clause in the previous deal signed a few years ago with Israel, which is the main supplier of all types of drones to the Air Force.
India is also discussing "Project Cheetah" with Israel under which almost all the drones of the three services would be turned into high-quality attack drones and their surveillance capabilities would also be enhanced.
The three branches of the armed forces have a fleet of more than 100 of these unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been acquired over the years in different batches.
The forces are also working on developing home-made combat drones which would be deployed on both the China and Pakistan border once the project is complete.
Americans have been using combat drones to carry out targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, but the relatively slow unmanned vehicles are not known to be effective in warfare where the opposition also has a strong air force.