The drone attack on the Jammu air force station on June 27 was a rude wake-up call for India to enhance its anti-drone capabilities. The strike was a wake-up call to the lurking danger.
This was a glimpse of future warfare that can cause maximum damage without using much manpower.
The attack was followed by a series of drones being neutralised at the borders. It was time to take a relook at the existing options and enhance measures for combating unmanned warfare.
The security establishment has put in place a plan for this, and without further delays, platforms are being procured to take on the menace of drone attacks.
In a series of orders, the armed forces have given out contracts to Indian companies in line with the self-reliance mantra anti-drone platforms—Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CUAS).
The armed forces have ordered Indian-made anti-drone systems worth over Rs 300 crores in a short span, and more contracts are awaited.
The systems being developed and given to the forces have both soft and hard kill capabilities. Soft kill refers to jamming the incoming drone rendering it ineffective, while a hard kill destroys the drone with a direct hit.
The latest among the recent contracts is the Indian Air Force placing an order worth Rs 155 crore for anti-drone platforms or counter-unmanned aircraft systems.
The contract has been bagged by Hyderabad-based Zen Technologies that will supply the systems within a year.
The IAF’s contract comes soon after the Indian Navy inked an agreement with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for India’s indigenous Naval Anti Drone System (NADS).
The Naval Anti Drone System can instantly detect and jam micro drones. It uses a laser-based kill mechanism to terminate targets.
The anti-drone system was first deployed to provide security cover for the Republic Day Parade this year and later during the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address to the Nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. The system offers 360-degree coverage and was also deployed in Ahmedabad for the Modi-Trump roadshow.
The system comes in two versions—mobile and static and both platforms will be available with the Indian Navy to secure its onshore installations.
This will be deployed for all critical assets, including the Navy’s airfields that have air assets.
With the help of radar, electro-optical/infrared sensors and radiofrequency detectors, the drones can be detected and jammed.
The anti-drone technology system developed by DRDO provides both ‘soft kill’ and ‘hard kill’ options to the Indian Armed Forces to tackle fast-emerging aerial threats.
Looking at the future, the Air Force wants 10 anti-drone systems armed with laser-directed energy weapons to bring down rogue drones. The Request for Information for this was issued a day after the attack on the Jammu air force station where unmanned aerial vehicles were used to drop bombs.
While the DRDO has developed an anti-drone technology to detect, intercept and shoot down drones, there are options from the private industry as well Hyderabad-based Grene Robotics says it has developed India’s drone dome ‘Indrajaal’ that can guard against drone threats.
After the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, other security agencies are also looking at immediately procuring the indigenous anti-drone capabilities without further delays.