After a delay of a few months due to COVID-19, the Indian Army's surveillance capabilities have received a major boost as Israel has delivered advanced Heron drones under the emergency procurement clause to keep an eye on the Chinese activities in the Ladakh sector.
"The advanced Heron drones have arrived in the country and are being deployed for surveillance operations in the eastern Ladakh sector," top government were quoted saying.
These drones are operational now and are far more advanced than the Herons in the existing inventory and their anti-jamming capability is much better than their previous versions, the sources said.
The acquisition of these drones has been done under the emergency financial powers granted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to the defence forces under which they can buy equipment and systems worth Rs 500 crores to upgrade their warfighting capabilities, amid ongoing border conflict with China, they added.
According to sources, the other small or mini drones are being acquired from Indian firms.
The Indian defence forces have been taking these initiatives to acquire weapon systems that can help them in the ongoing conflict with China.
The last time such a facility was given to the defence forces was in 2019 right after the Balakot airstrikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan.
Using the same facility, the Indian Navy has leased two Predator drones which have been taken from American firm General Atomics.
The Indian Air Force had exercised the same powers to acquire a large number of anti-tank guided missiles, long-range precision-guided artillery shells along with the Hammer air to ground standoff missiles with a strike range of around 70 kilometres.
The emergency procurement powers under capital acquisition route ended on August 31 this year.
The armed forces have a few more projects in the final stages and if they get an extension, they may go ahead for purchasing that equipment too for improving their combat capabilities.