The Indian Ministry of Defence has instructed Indian Tri service to investigate Israeli MALE Unmanned Aerial System that are on offer to India instead of putting a technical hold on the purchase of 30 MQ-9 Reaper from US-based General Atomics, which may have cost around $3 billion. The Indian Armed Forces have been offered the Elbit Adani designed Made in India Hermes 900 Unmanned Aerial System, which has a takeoff weight of 1.2 tons and a maximum payload of 350kg.
The Adani Group manufactures the Hermes 900 UAS in India for the export market using 60% domestically produced parts. An MQ-1 Predator UAS and the Hermes 900 UAS belong to the same class. The available Hermes 900 UAS Armed variant can be fitted with short-range air-to-ground laser guided bombs on wings weighing up to 350 kg, or it can employ a modular 250 kg installation bay with a length of 2.5 metres to carry weapons weighing up to 125 kg, such as Smart Anti Airfield Weapons. Hermes 900 has a 36-hour endurance and a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet.
The Heron TP MALE Unmanned Aerial System, proposed by Israel Aerospace Industries HAL is the second Israeli armed UAS on the market. If purchased, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture it in India. Heron TP can fly up to 45,000 feet and has a 30-hour endurance with a takeoff weight of 5.6 tons and a maximum payload of 2.7 tons. Heron TP is comparable to a MQ-9 Reaper in class, although it can carry more payload.
Additionally, the Heron TP has a dedicated weapons bay that may include missiles and smart bombs to lessen drag and vibration. HAL offers the Indian-made Heron TP, which may be outfitted with SAAW and Helina ATGM air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry. Heron TP is anticipated to be 60% less expensive than MQ-9 Reaper, while Hermes 900 UAS will be much less expensive.
Additionally, India is working on the Archer Short range Armed UAS. For intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance, ADE has created the Rustom-2 and is currently working on the HALE Class UAV.