Israel Aerospace Industries is the foremost supplier of UAVs to the Indian Army, with the Heron and Searchers drones used for reconnaissance and strikes, and Harpies and Harops used for anti-radiation purposes.
In November 2005, media reports claimed that India was set to purchase about 50 Heron Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries in a deal worth $220 million. They were planned to be used for reconnaissance missions on India’s mountainous borders with China and Pakistan and along India’s long coastal waters.
India was said to have been close to sealing the deal in 2004, but it was postponed due to the change in government in New Delhi. Reportedly, the Heron’s excellent performance during the December 2004 tsunami clinched the deal between Israel and India. Its performance since then, and the Chinese aggression on the Indian border, has green-lighted a follow-on contract.
The Indian armed forces had again proposed buying the Heron armed drones in 2012. According to senior defence ministry officials, the proposal did not get political backing in UPA-2. They said that the project was revived and fast-tracked by the Modi government earlier this year.