In the early hours of June 27, one of India’s most critical military facilities, the Air Force high security base in Jammu, was the victim of a “novel” armed drone attack. The attack was the first of its kind and is considered a harbinger for the future. The June 27 dual drone attack was planned and carried out by terrorists in the Shakargarh sector targeting air traffic control, radar and parked helicopters.
Armed drones are no longer viewed as a mere nuisance and can drop bombs, fire missiles, and plunge armed drones into the target.
The unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAS) market in the country is valued at $ 866 million and is valued at $ 21.47 billion worldwide. With lightning-fast changes to the drone structure now possible, in addition to increased payload technology and the downsizing of various elements, the threat level is enormous and the task is demanding. The sheer number of UAS, their different sizes, flight characteristics, capabilities, performance parameters, missions and weak points make it difficult for India to master this challenge.
- India eases the path for drone policy for air taxis
- New rules exclude the use of drones for deliveries in India
Since the coronavirus outbreak in late 2019, Indian forces have recorded nearly a hundred sightings on India’s western borders – from Jammu and Kashmir to Gujarat. To make matters worse, these drones were spotted in the eastern region, which is affected by Maoist extremism.
Is India’s anti-rogue drone infrastructure ready for action?
The attack has shifted the focus to the glaring gaps in India’s border security. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on the development of anti-drone “Swadeshi” technology to secure the border areas and thwart terrorist attacks.
While the Secretariat of the National Security Council (NSC), which advises the PMO on issues of national security and strategic interests, has been aware of the threat to Indian security posed by terrorist drones for a number of years, the process of procuring technology to counter the threat is quite a bit laborious and cumbersome. To date, only one request for information (RFI) has been published for the purchase of anti-drone technologies.
India has a limited number of anti-drone technology manufacturers including DRDO, Bharat Electronics Limited as state-owned companies, with Zen Technologies and ACSG Corp as private companies.
A large-scale, inclusive public-private partnership (PPP) should be the right approach, according to several experts.
Space for private players
At the beginning of July, immediately after the attack on the base in Jammu, the BSF started the BSF Hi-Tech Undertaking for Maximizing Innovation (BHUMI) in cooperation with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in order to develop suitable systems for the detection and destruction of drones and Tunnel with the help of Indian companies. BSF is currently exploring a pool of 500 private Indian companies to find solutions. The initiative is part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission.
Zen Technologies’ anti-drone system works on drone detection, classification and tracking of passive surveillance, camera sensors and neutralizing the threat of disruption to drone communications. ACSG Corp.., a company that protects critical infrastructures, is also building appropriate technology. Its powerful jammers, the company said, can combat multiple threats at the same time.
Major Vijay, spokesman for ACSG Corp, pointed out that “an advanced 360-degree radar system can track intruding drones from a distance of 2 km, reducing and eliminating the perceived threat before it makes an impact.”
These companies are also expected to help find communications solutions in non-networked locations and detect unauthorized communications in dead zones.
Way Forward – Indigenous or Foreign Technology?
The existing counter drone technology is limited and is largely sourced and licensed from industrialized countries. This is mainly because there is very little trust in Indian technology.
Historically, India has met its demands from Israel and the US. However, this trend is changing, as it should be, as the government puts emphasis on technologies developed by domestic actors. There is enough and more potential in the home and the government is starting to value it.
Case study? The IAF recently placed an order worth 155 billion rupees for anti-drone platforms or the Counter Unarmed Aircraft System (CUAS). Zen Technologies from Hyderabad was awarded the contract.
According to the “Make in India” philosophy, the Indian armed forces have already approved contracts with Indian companies for the production of anti-drone systems worth over 300 billion rupees.
Can India become a drone technology export center? The answer is simple. Yes, but only if more private companies are brought on board to address the problem.
- Would you like to be informed about the latest developments in technology? Follow TechRadar India on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
This article was previously published on Source link