Approval for 54 Israeli attack drones Harop for Indian Air Force

The Indian Defence Ministry has approved 54 Israeli Harop attack drones for its Air Force which already has an inventory of around 110 of these drones, now renamed P-4.

India Approuval for 54 attack drones Harop from Israel for Indian Air Force 2 The IAI Harop, also known as IAI Harpy 2, renamed P4 in the Indian Air Force inventory (Picture source: Air Recogition)

The IAI Harop is an anti-radiation drone that can autonomously home in on radio emissions. Rather than holding a separate high-explosive warhead, the drone itself is the main munition. This SEAD-optimised loitering munition is designed to loiter the battlefield and attack targets by self-destructing into them. The drone can either operate fully autonomously, using its anti-radar homing system, or it can take a human-in-the-loop mode. If a target is not engaged, the drone will return and land itself back at base.

It has been designed to minimize its radar-signature through stealth (low-observability). This anti-radiation drone is designed to target enemy air-defense systems in a first line of attack, as the small drone (with its small radar cross-section) can evade SAMs and radar detection systems which are designed to target much larger aircraft or to intercept fixed-trajectory missiles.

The project is likely to strengthen the capability of the Air Force which is going to showcase the capabilities of the missile during the forthcoming Exercise Vayu Shakti where the loitering UAV would be shown destroying a simulated enemy radar target, IAF officials said.

India is also discussing the Project Cheetah with the Israelis under which almost all the drones of the three services would be turned into high-quality attack drones and their surveillance capabilities would also be enhanced.