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The Indian government has signed a $400 million final contract with Israel Aerospace Industries during Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's last week's India visit for armed drones.

The contract was signed after the Indian armed forces indicated their impatience with the inability of defense scientists to come up with a definitive timeframe for developing an armed drone.

New Delhi signed the contract almost after a year of its approval to purchase 10 Heron TP drones. Delivery of the drones is expected to begin from the year 2019.

Earlier, Indian armed forces had hoped defense scientists would make progress in developing a combat drone. But India's Defense Research and Development Organization recently announced that the indigenous medium endurance "Rustom 2'' drone will not be converted into a combat drone. DRDO was unable to integration missiles onto the Rustom series of drones. 

"India has a long way still to go. China is the leading civil drone manufacturer in the world. USA and Israel are leaders in state-of-the-art military UAVs. India should seek support from Israel for Make-in-India UAVs," says Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired). 

Sources told Sputnik that Israel has also offered to jointly develop an advanced version of Heron TP. Indian armed forces began inducting drones in 2000. Currently, more than 200 drones, primarily Heron from Israel and local produce Nishant, are serving the Indian armed forces.

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