Army opts for Israel's SAMs over Indian Akash
The Indian Army picked Israeli quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles (QR-SAMs) to take on enemy fighters, helicopters and drones over the much-touted indigenous Akash missiles. Army sources said it wanted the QR-SAMs to defend its formations in the "forward tactical battlefield area". Sources stated that the Israeli weapons had 360 degree coverage and 3-4 second reaction times, which the Akash missile system could not provide.
The Barack-8 (this all-weather "defence shield" against incoming enemy fighters) is the first time India and Israel have joined hands in building a surface-to-air missile. Before this Israel has primarily been involved in providing UAVs for Indian military.
The use of drones/UAVs in India is mainly confined to surveillance and reconnaissance. India's UAV imports, have almost all been from Israel. India's current arsenal of unmanned aircraft includes the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Harpy and Harop unmanned combat aerial vehicles, and IAI Searcher and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Apart from this, India also has been invloved in the development of indigenous UAVs.
The indigenous UAVs developed or under development by India include - Aura, Lakshya, Netra, Nishant, Panchi, Rustom I, Rustom II, etc. Rustom I is an all-weather, medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV. Rustom II is being designed to operate at up to 30,000 ft for 24 hours at a stretch. Nishant is used for day/night reconnaissance, target tracking and extraction of target coordinates, etc.
While Pakistan claimed using first-ever armed drone - Burraq to kill "high-profile terrorists" in Waziristan early Sep 2015, China is incrementally advancing its development of UAVs. China became the second country in the world to openly export armed-drones after delivering them to Nigeria in 2014. With both its neighbours, actively involved with armed drones, India is looking to expedite plans to procure armed UAVs.
Indian government has approved the procurement of 10 missile-armed Heron drones in a $400 million deal from Israel. Israel's armed Heron drones are similar to the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are capable of reconnaissance, combat and support roles. The plan to acquire armed Herons was first conceived in 2012 but it was revived and fast-tracked by the Modi government earlier this year.
Set to be operated by Indian Air Force, Heron drones can carry a payload of over 1,000 kg and will be equipped with air-to-ground missiles that detect, track and take down targets deep in enemy territory.
India has accelerated its plans to buy armed drones from Israel. This will allow military to carry out overseas strikes with less risk to personnel. Buying armed Heron TP drones would open the option of covert cross-border strikes, taking out large terrorist camps, etc. The armed Herons due to enter Indian service by late 2016 will give the "air force deep-strike capability".
As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Israel is the leading exporter of drones, accounting for 60.7% between 1985 and 2014. It has shipped 783 drones since 1980.
The Israeli military administered a successful test of the Barak-8 missile. Israeli security experts said that the high-level surface-to-air missile system will be stationed to defend India's offshore gas fields. The missile has been jointly produced by "DRDO, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael" etc.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/ drone/ remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on ground or in another vehicle.
The Indian Navy successfully test fired the Indo-Israeli Barak-8 missile from INS Kolkata. The 70km range, Surface to Air Missile, launched off the Western seaboard successfully intercepted an aerial target at extended ranges. The test paves the way for the s installation on Indian Naval Ships, significantly enhancing their attack capability. Only few countries including the US, France, Britain and Israel possess these systems.