Indian pharmaceutical giant Piramal Healthcare is to invest in Israeli unmanned air systems manufacturer BlueBird.

BlueBird was reluctant to comment on the deal, which was reached in principle following a number of meetings in Israel, but sources say Piramal has agreed to make an investment worth around $20 million through its US subsidiary. The firm held earlier talks with several Israeli manufacturers that are planning to bid for a deal to equip the Indian armed forces with mini UAS.

Piramal plans to establish a new defence subsidiary, and its initial investment could potentially lead to it signing deals with other Israeli companies, sources say. Its agreement with BlueBird follows the Israeli manufacturer's previous pact with India's Dynamatic Technologies.

Several major Israeli manufacturers are making preparations to team with Indian companies as New Delhi works towards releasing requests for quotations for mini and micro UAS to equip the Indian army. These include Aeronautics, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries.

Sources suggest that India could acquire 500 unmanned systems, with the selected air vehicles to offer an endurance of at least 30min.

Source: Flight International