January 6, 2006:
India, using UAVs purchased from Israel, has formed its first UAV maritime reconnaissance squadron (the 342nd). The unit has eight Searcher II UAVs and four Herons. The Searcher II san stay aloft for 16 hours at a time, and is built to operate for 2,000 hours before a major system failure. The Heron is similar to the U.S. Predator, and can stay up for fifty hours at a time. The radar and vidcam sensors enable the UAVs to provide unprecedented coverage on short notice. Israel is also using a version of the Heron for maritime reconnaissance. Israel is particularly eager for these UAVs to succeed at maritime recon, for that would open up a huge market for Israeli made UAVs and sensors. Israel has been the leader in UAV technology for over two decades, and has been supplying India with UAVs to the Indian navy for three years now.