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Indian Army deploys new Heron drones along LAC

New Delhi, November 30

The Indian Army has procured a set of new surveillance drones that allow the ground controller to communicate through a satellite. These have been deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

These are an advanced version of the Heron procured from Israel. Last winter, the Indian Navy had leased high performance ‘Predator’ drones from the US and these were used extensively.

The existing version of the Heron drones with the Army was without satellite communication and allowed only line of sight communication. This restricted operations in mountains of Ladakh. The drone could fly to a maximum 28,000 feet, couldn’t operate in winter and its effective vision was limited to 7-8 km.

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Also, the Army had to fly two drones in tandem, one that ‘looked across’ and the other to act as relay for communication to ground controller. Satellite communication drones remove such bottlenecks. The new version is all- weather capable and flies up to an altitude of 45,000 feet. The new drones perform a variety of missions, including intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. — TNS

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