New Delhi: Against the background of the growing tension with China, the Indian defence forces have reactivated Project Cheetah. Under this project, the Heron Drones in the fleet of the defence forces will be armed with laser-guided bombs and anti-tank missiles. It is being reported, quoting sources, that a proposal in this regard has already been submitted to the defence ministry.
Although efforts are on to diffuse the tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the political and military levels, the Indian defence forces have prepared for any eventuality. Along with Ladakh, deployment in all the Chinese border regions has been increased. Tanks, missile defence systems and other defence equipment have been deployed on the border. These include the Heron Drones acquired from Israel.
There are 90 Heron Drones in the Indian fleet, and as of now, these drones are not equipped with weapons. They are being used only for surveillance purposes. But there is a proposal to arm these drones for using them in actions against the enemy as well as terrorists along with surveillance. The project was kept in abeyance for the last five years. There were reports that efforts had started to acquire ten more, armed Heron drones from Israel, under Project Cheetah. But the project was once again delayed.
Now, these drones will be modernised and armed. Laser-guided bombs, air-to-air missiles and anti-tank missiles will be deployed on the Heron Drones. The drones will be equipped with ultramodern surveillance technologies. The process has already started, and the proposal is in front of the high-powered committee of the defence ministry. It has been reported that Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, responsible for purchases of defence equipment, has already received the proposal.