The Indian Navy will commission a squadron consisting of Israeli-built Searcher and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at Porbandar, Gujarat, on 17 January to enhance its coastal surveillance capabilities.

A request for information (RFI) has been issued for a 15t platform with 25 hours of mission endurance, service ceiling of 40,000ft and a cruise speed of 100kt.

The navy also plans to acquire shipborne unmanned rotorcraft and high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAVs, according to Press Trust of India.

The Indian Government has also decided to deploy coastal surveillance radars atop 90 lighthouses, fitted with cameras capable of operating day and night along eastern and western seaboards.

The navy is currently using Israeli Heron and Searcher mk2 UAVs and had commissioned its first UAV reconnaissance squadron at its base in Kochi in January 2006.