SP's LandForces - - NEWS IN BRIEF -

The In­dian armed forces over the next decade want over 400 drones, in­clud­ing com­bat and sub­ma­rine-launched re­motely pi­loted air­craft, as well as di­rected en­ergy weapons (DEWs) like high-en­ergy lasers and high-pow­ered mi­crowaves ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing en­emy tar­gets and even satel­lites. Sev­eral such mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been iden­ti­fied in the de­fence min­istry’s new “Tech­nol­ogy Per­spec­tive and Ca­pa­bil­ity Roadmap-2018” to pro­vide the in­dus­try with an over­view of the coun­try’s of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive mil­i­tary re­quire­ments up to the late 2020s. This roadmap may guide the in­dus­try in plan­ning or ini­ti­at­ing tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment, part­ner­ships and pro­duc­tion ar­range­ments. While pur­su­ing any de­vel­op­ment or col­lab­o­ra­tion, the In­dian in­dus­try should ac­cord due im­por­tance to the govern­ment’s thrust to­wards ‘Make in In­dia’, says the 82-page doc­u­ment.

Apart from ob­vi­ous ne­ces­si­ties rang­ing from next-gen­er­a­tion sub­marines, de­stroy­ers and frigates to mis­siles, in­fantry weapons, spe­cialised am­mu­ni­tion and CBRN (chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal, ra­di­o­log­i­cal, nu­clear) de­fence sys­tems, the doc­u­ment fo­cuses on a wide va­ri­ety of un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (UAVs) or drones needed by the armed forces. Drones are ma­jor force-mul­ti­pli­ers in mod­ern-day war­fare for real-time sur­veil­lance as well as hit­ting high-value en­emy tar­gets. The armed forces cur­rently have over 200 drones, the bulk of them im­ported from Is­rael for long-range sur­veil­lance and pre­ci­sion-tar­get­ing. They also have some Is­raeli Harop “killer” or Kamikaze drones, which act as cruise mis­siles by ex­plod­ing into en­emy tar­gets and radars. Even as DRDO works on de­vel­op­ing the Ghatak stealth UCAVs (com­bat drones) un­der a Rs 2,650 crore project, the roadmap says the Army and Navy will need “more than 30” com­bat re­motely-pi­loted air­craft (RPA).

“The medium-al­ti­tude, long-en­durance (MALE) com­bat RPA should have the ca­pa­bil­ity to fly up to 30,000-feet al­ti­tude, with ex­tended satel­lite communication ranges and en­durance of more than 24 hours,” says the doc­u­ment. The drones should be ca­pa­ble of fir­ing mis­siles at land and mar­itime tar­gets from over 20-km away.

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