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Indian Air Force bolsters surveillance with new Heron Mark 2 drones at Forward Air Bases

August 16, 2023 11:51 AM IST

Indian Military | Indian Army | defence | China | Pakistan | Indian Air Force | Heron Mark 2 drones | military drones

Adding to India’s defence capabilities, the Indian Air Force has inducted the new Heron Mark 2 drones on August 13. This drone has the capabilities to carry out surveillance along the borders of China and Pakistan in a single sortie and will be operating from a forward air base in the northern sector.

“The Heron Mark 2 is a very capable drone. This is capable of longer endurance and has ‘beyond line of sight’ capability. With this, the entire country can be surveilled from the same place. The drone simply amalgamates into the Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance matrix of the Indian Air Force,” the commanding officer of the drone squadron, Wing Commander Pankaj Rana said while speaking to ANI.

These four recently introduced drones have significantly enhanced the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. Their remarkable ability to remain airborne for a continuous 36-hour period makes them invaluable for conducting numerous surveillance missions across different sectors consecutively.

These high-endurance drones also possess an additional feature which is the capability to remotely illuminate enemy targets using lasers from considerable distances. This functionality greatly assists fighter aircraft in effectively eliminating these designated targets. As per sources, the drone has the capacity for weaponization, and the ongoing efforts to equip these drones with weapons are in progress.

According to the media reports, the squadron operating the Heron Mark 2 drones is known as the ‘Warden of the North’ and has been engaged in conducting surveillance operations along the borders adjoining both China and Pakistan. These drones have been outfitted with satellite communication connections and stand as the most cutting-edge aerial vehicles within the Indian military.

Squadron Leader Arpit Tandon, who serves as a pilot for the Heron Mark 2 drone, highlighted that the upgraded iteration of the Heron drone offers numerous benefits in comparison to its earlier versions, which began being introduced into the Indian Air Force in the early 2000s.

The squadron leader further informed, “The payloads and the onboard avionics of the Heron Mark 2 can operate at sub-zero temperatures and in any weather condition. This is helping the Indian Air Force achieve footprints over any type of terrain.”

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