India and Israel’s military relationship grew further last week, after Delhi quietly purchased ten armed Heron TP drones from the Jewish state in a $400 million deal.
The drones will be operated by the Indian Air Force, according to the Economic Times, and are due to join its ranks within a year.
Regional concerns have accelerated a years-long negotiating process over the purchase, sources told the daily, which has been on the table since as far back as 2012.
Herons are used for precision strikes and can carry over 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs). The ones being supplied to India will be equipped with air-to-ground missiles for destroying terror targets.
India has a long history of buying military equipment from Israel.
In 2013, India bought 15 unmanned Harpy UAVs from Israel, in a deal worth just under $2 million.
In 2009, India bought the Phalcon tactical and surveillance system from Israel, as part of a $1.1 billion deal signed between India, Russia and Israel in January 2004. Israel’s military industry firm also announced plans at the time to establish five factories in India for the production of artillery shells.
India has also been boosting its defense capabilities against border countries. In 2013, New Delhi announced a successful missile test of the Agni-V missile, which could reach both Pakistan and China.