As threat grows, IAF seeks portable one-man system to shoot down drones: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, April 25

Amid the growing threat posed by Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), the Indian Air Force identified the need for an easy-to-use handheld system capable of downing red drones.

The sixth edition of the Defense India Startup Challenge (DISC-6), launched by the Minister of Defense on April 22, calls on the industry to develop a portable counter-UAS system. DISC is a platform under the aegis of the Ministry of Defense that offers industry-specific projects, especially to start-ups, to develop technological solutions and products for the armed forces.

According to the parameters listed in the document, the autonomous system must be portable and be operated by a single person in addition to having a range greater than 300 meters and capable of repeated use in rapid succession.

Also, it shouldn’t require any special skills or training to neutralize the drone and providing aiming and neutralization should be very simple and achievable with minimal training.

The system is intended to intercept and destroy small low-flying drones with a tiny radar, thermal or acoustic signature and are primarily used for surveillance and cross-border smuggling or can be used to carry out a terrorist attack, such as this was the case at Pathankot Air Base in Punjablast Year.

The Punjab and Jammu regions remain vulnerable. According to data available from the Border Security Force, there were 100 drone sightings along the western border in 2021, including 67 in Punjab followed by 24 in the JammuSector. This year there have already been more than half a dozen drone engagements, with some reports claiming that an IED that detonated near Jammu on the day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally was allegedly dropped by a drone.

While the ability to detect and counter the exits of large unmanned aerial vehicles, detection of small drones is very difficult and currently relies primarily on visual observations or audio hearing. Troops engage small drones with standard rifles, which is difficult.

Two basic options for neutralizing drones are the soft kill, which relies on jamming or hacking the target drone’s radio signals, or the hard kill which requires the drone to be physically destroyed by ammo or lasers.

The armed forces as well as paramilitary and police organizations emphasize the induction of anti-drone systems. Besides the purchase of some foreign systems, several projects are underway to develop different indigenous systems to counter various types of drones.

Over the past few years, there have been several reported cases where drones have been used to smuggle weapons and ammunition as well as narcotics into India. The use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance in border areas is also a regular feature. Border Guard Forces have changed their operational procedures to counter hostile drones.

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