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February 25, 2019 4:08 pm

Report: India Closes $500 Million Deal to Buy Israeli Drones

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israel’s Heron drone at the Paris Air Show 2009. Photo: Tangopaso via Wikicommons.

India has reportedly agreed to buy 50 Israeli drones for $500 million.

According to Yediot Ahronot, the deal will see Israel Aerospace Industries sell a fleet of Heron-1 drones to the Indian Air Force. This would be the second such purchase, and talks between India and IAI have been ongoing for several years due to political complications in India.

As in previous arms deals between the two countries, one-third of the $500 million would be spent in India itself.

In recent years, said Yediot, there has been furious competition between American and Israeli companies over foreign drone sales, with America’s General Atomics and Israel’s Elbit Systems being the primary rivals.

The IDF already uses the Heron-1, which is known in the military by the name “Shoval.” It is utilized mainly for reconnaissance and intelligence collection.

The Heron-1 has been sold to both France and Turkey, and leased to Germany, Canada, and Australia. There have also been reported sales to Singapore and Azerbaijan. Morocco, which has no relations with Israel, has acquired the drone from France.

The vehicle itself has a wingspan of 17 meters and can fly at a height of up to 35,000 feet for nearly two days without having to land.

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