skip to main content

Looking up: India's UAV capability

The Indian Armed Forces leased four Heron TP UAVs (pictured above) from Israel under emergency procurement clause in 2021 amid the stand-off with China. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The Indian government has not only emphasised the need to increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by the Indian Armed Forces but also to strengthen the service's ability to deploy such technologies across a wide range of tactical missions.

To achieve this, India has increased collaboration with foreign partners – particularly, Israel and the United States – to procure UAVs and enable transfer of technologies. Such activity is aligned with the government's effort to develop the domestic private sector and reduce dependency on imports.

These initiatives have been spurred by the changing nature of warfare and the tense geopolitical environment in India's surrounding region.

UAVs play a crucial role in supporting the Indian Armed Forces' intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, particularly along India's disputed borders with China and Pakistan as well as in the Indian Ocean region where China has been attempting to expand its presence.

However, Janes analysis suggests that India has a long way to go to reduce the gap between its existing UAV capability and the growing demands of its military for cutting-edge UAV systems and technologies.

India's border skirmishes and stand-off with China in Ladakh, located at India's northern tip, since May 2020 has pushed the government to grant emergency powers to the Indian Armed Forces to accelerate the acquisition of materiel needed to overcome shortfalls.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...