India again buys Israeli UAV’s to keep an eye on China and Pakistan

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Skylite Bdy

The Northern Command of the Indian army that guards the Chinese and Pakistani border, has been seeking to buy 49 small UAVs. The army already operates dozens of larger Israeli UAVs, the smallest of which is the half ton Searcher UAV. The Northern Command is after a portable UAV that could be moved around on the border and quickly launched and put to work by the troops, especially those on foot patrol in this chilly mountain wilderness.

According to Strategy Page, India has decided back in October to buy Israeli-made UAVs, but no decision was made as to which model. The most likely candidate, given that Northern Command specified a UAV weighing under 10 kg (22 pounds) would be the Skylark.

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Searcher UAV This UAV, which has been around since 2008, has an impressive combat record and a new version (Skylark 1LE) recently showed up. This is a 7.5 kg (16.5 pound) aircraft with a 1.1 kg (2.4 pound) payload. This is sufficient to carry an Israeli designed video camera, a laser designator and communications gear that can work with the American Rover ground terminals (designed to let commanders on the ground see what UAVs are seeing). Max endurance is three hours, max altitude is 4,700 meters (15,000 feet). Max distance from the operator is 40 kilometers.

This model would do what Northern Command wanted with little risk of embarrassing failures. Thus Indian vendors (like mega firm Tata) and other suppliers (like the Israeli firm offering the 9 kg Skylite) would be less attractive candidates than Skylark.