Naval Air: April 28, 2003


India is doing what has long been proposed, establishing a UAV unit for regularly patrolling large areas of ocean. Four Heron UAVs have been bought from Israel and based in southern India. The Heron has a max take off weight of 1.2 tons and carries a 440 pound payload, with a wingspan 28 feet. With a max endurance of up to 50 hours (depending on payload carried), the Heron has been equipped with naval search radar. Cruising at about 100 kilometers an hour and at over 20,000 feet, the Heron can cover huge areas of open water. The UAV force is meant for patrolling the waters off southeast India and northern Sri Lanka. Within a year, India will deploy 18 Heron UAVs to patrol coastal waters. The UAVs are being bought from Israel at $7.25 million each. 


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