From surveillance to combat: Decoding India’s Drone mission

A swarm of drones lined the parade floor in the course of the Army Day parade on January 15 this yr because the Indian Army put up a singular show of its not too long ago acquired indigenous unmanned aerial automobiles (UAVs).

The Indian Army confirmed its new unmanned warfare techniques for the primary time with using such drones.

Referred to as ‘swarm drones’, the tactic of unleashing a lot of UAVs on the similar time can wreak havoc, since jammers and radars fail to detect a number of drones and see the ‘swarm’ as only one huge object. Decoded | Use of drones for terrorism

With a spread of fifty km, these armed drones could make deep inroads behind enemy traces and are able to hitting targets from a distance of 500 metres. The UAV has a mom drone that has an connected little one drone meant to hearth and self-destruct after hitting the goal.

On Sunday, India saw a small glimpse of modern-day drone warfare as two bombs were dropped on the high-security Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Jammu.

The focus, after the incident in Jammu, is now on the future – unmanned warfare.

See: Drones in India: Who can buy them, what are usage conditions and how govt is controlling drone use

Drone assaults may cripple civilian infra

Drone assaults might be carried out by dropping bombs, firing missiles or crashing armed UAVs into the goal. Stealth options permit drones to go close to their targets, just about undetected, by making deep penetrations.

The US armed forces have additionally embraced drone warfare, largely in a bid to guarantee fewer casualties. More not too long ago, the Army of Azerbaijan used drones towards Armenia throughout an armed battle final yr.

Not simply navy targets, however drones may additionally pose a menace to important civilian infrastructure akin to dams, energy crops and bridges.

Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane has gone on document to assert how using disruptive applied sciences akin to drones is the way forward for warfare.

Aerial assaults involving drones loaded with missiles and laser-guided bombs, able to destroying targets deep inside enemy territory, may quickly be a actuality for the Indian navy trying to enhance its unmanned warfare techniques.

India presently owns a number of Heron Surveillance drones and the Harop loitering munition, for surveillance functions. These drones are solely used to collect intelligence, however the possibility to use them for offense is now on the desk.

MQ9 Reaper drones: USD 3 billion deal on playing cards

A $3 billion deal for the acquisition of 30 armed drones manufactured by US-based firm General Atomics is probably going within the coming months. If the deal goes by means of, the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force may every get 10 of those fight drones.

Key targets of those unmanned aerial automobiles will embody surveillance, reconnaissance for intelligence gathering and finishing up fight missions behind enemy traces with out risking pilots or troopers on the bottom in robust mountainous terrain.

The MQ9 Reaper, additionally known as a ‘Predator’ drone, can detect targets utilizing its inbuilt sensors and radars.

It has an endurance of greater than 27 hours and might carry payloads of up to practically 1,700 kgs with a spread of 6,000 nautical miles and flying capability of up to 50,000 toes. It may even carry lethal hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.

The US forces have used ‘Predator B’ armed drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

These High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones may show to be crucial to the Indian navy’s operations in greater reaches of Kashmir, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim within the wake of rising threats from China and Pakistan.

Features of those drones can range based mostly on the necessities of the Navy, Air Force and Army, mentioned officers.

The plan is to have 30 of those drones – 10 every for the Army, Navy and Air Force. India can purchase these drones by buying them in batches so as to guarantee the provision of a few of them on the earliest.

The Indian Navy already has two such unarmed drones on lease, the Sea Guardians, that are a variant of the Predator.

CATS Warrior drones

With a watch on future challenges, personal Indian corporations and public sector items are engaged on applied sciences for unmanned warfare that would be the key in navy fight within the years to come.

One such bold mission is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) CATS Warrior.

Modeled on the US mission Skyborg, HAL’s ongoing mission envisions a state of affairs the place unmanned plane and automobiles will coordinate with manned fighter jets to perform aerial strikes.

The Combined Air Teaming System or CATS may have a mom vehicle— a fighter jet working 700 km away that can be ready to strike enemy targets by means of unmanned drones.

The fighter jets guiding the unmanned drones can stay 150 km behind and management and provides instructions to 4 unmanned automobiles known as the CATS Warriors.

The drones are anticipated to be built-in into Tejas and Jaguar fighter jets.

One of the primary prototypes is anticipated to fly within the subsequent 3-4 years. Capable of evading radar detection, its stealth functionality will make the assault much more potent.

Other than unmanned fight automobiles, the primary fighter plane can be built-in with armed drones— CATS Hunter and CATS Alpha.

CATS Alpha is a glider that can be ready to carry 4, eight, 16 or 24 ‘swarm drones’. The Alpha can glide 50 to 100 kilometers into enemy territory and perform a swarm drone assault with a number of armed UAVs.

Switch drones for Army

In January this yr, the Indian Army positioned an order for indigenous Switch UAVs meant for day and night time surveillance of excessive altitude areas. The value for procurement of those UAVSs is roughly 20 million USD. Deliveries are anticipated by January 2022.

This UAV weighs 6.5 kg and has a spread of 15 km with a flight time of up to two hours.

After bagging the contract for Switch UAVs, ideaForge mentioned in a press release, “The contract marks a strategic shift in the Indian defence procurement process as the Indian Army goes on an aggressive modernization drive.”

“Switch UAV is an indigenous system built to cater for the most demanding surveillance operations of the Indian Forces. This Fixed Wing VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) UAV can be deployed at high altitude and harsh environments for day and night surveillance in Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It is man-portable and has the highest time on target compared to any other UAV in its class,” the assertion added.

SMASH 2000 anti-drone system

Detecting and neutralizing drones is an enormous problem and the assault in Jammu has revealed the chinks in our armour.

While the Indian Navy has already opted for Israeli anti-drone Smash rifles, the Jammu assault is an indication that different forces should take the cue to equip themselves so as to guard towards drone assaults.

The SMASH 2000 system is fitted on a rifle and can be utilized to convey down drones. The system acknowledges, tracks and engages targets within the air with precision.

The Indian Army has not too long ago developed its personal anti-drone capabilities with out relying on different producers.

With these programs and different anti-drone capabilities like jammers manufactured by the Indian Army to detect and convey down quad copters, preparations are on for synthetic intelligence-based warfare.

The enhanced quad copter jamming system has a spread of three.5 km and has already been deployed at numerous places alongside the Line of Control (LoC).

“They were recently operationalised and can detect and neutralise a quad copter,” mentioned an Army official.

Rotary unmanned aerial automobile

The rotary unmanned aerial automobile or ‘drone helicopter’ can be within the pipeline. It is being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and might function at greater than 15,000 toes.

The ‘drone helicopter’ can be essential for quick transportation of provides in harsh high-altitude areas and might even exchange mules.

Weighing 200 kg, the ‘drone helicopter’ can carry payloads of up to 30 kg to a spread of 100 km.

Also Read | LeT suspected to be behind IAF station attack, drones may have come from across border: DGP

Also Read | Jammu attack: Were drones bought from China for pizza delivery used by Pakistan?

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