The attack on Indian Airforce facility in Jammu was probably first ever use of a drone in a terror attack on an Indian military facility. Two blasts took place at the Indian Air Force base in Jammu Airport in the early hours of 27th June 2021. Reports suggest two Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel suffered minor injuries. The cause was the explosions that took place deep inside IAF base. This airforce facility is in proximity with line of control. It is believed Pakistan is around 14 km from the place of Incident.
Alpha Defense Exclusive
The Indian armed forces realised the importance of drones in warfare recently but the progress in this segment has been significant. Though most of the capabilities that are acquired today are on the offensive side, while the defence is still work in progress. The Drone swarm demonstrated by Indian Army on Army Day 2021 was one such example. Other things are Fixed wing swarm drones, loyal wing man drone, UCAV, Micro & Mini UAV, MALE UAV, and Pseudo Satellite.
The Indian armed forces are further working on three major projects.
The Drone Package
- Fixed Wing Drone having explosive payload delivery in High Altitude Area.
- Swarm Drones for Kinetic Strikes.
- Drone Mounted Anti Radar Jammer System for Rotary Wing Swarm Drones.
Fixed Wing Drone having explosive payload delivery in High Altitude Area
This includes a minimum Two Fixed Wing Drones with a Ground Control Station (GCS). Each Fixed Wing Drone will have modular architecture to accommodate a range of surveillance sensors/ payload. Option of return to home with selectable waypoints enrooted. The minimum radius of action is 100 Km (one way) with 30 Kg explosive payload.
The service ceiling of operation to be minimum 7,000 m Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) and provide specified payload (upto 30 kg) performance which excludes ISR payload. The minimum speed of operation is 200kmph and it will have an endurance of 4hrs with 30kg payload. It will also feature STOL capability with MTOW of 250kg (including 30kg payload). The fixed wing drones are much faster than multicopper. In this case the UAV’s will carry a significant amount of explosive as payload. These modular drones with such a payload can inflict significant damage on any high value target.
Swarm Drones for Kinetic Strikes
These Swarm Drones, are a cluster of 12 drones that can attack together (in a swarm). They can be controlled by a remote ground control station. Most importantly these can be used to deploy kinetic (lethal) strikes at 2 km AMSL with surrounding features of conducting surveillance and aerial data relay.
Here’s an Alpha Defense Exclusive Update. “5 private sector companies are in this race. These are Larson & Toubro Limited, Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Limited, Aerospace Engineers Private Limited, Dhaksha Unmanned Systems Private Limited, and Threye Interactive Pvt Limited. These swarm drones will be smaller and cheaper than one developed by New Space India Limited.
Drone Mounted Anti Radar Jammer System
This probably is the most important effort in the lot. Jamming is the intentional emission of radio frequency signals to interfere with the operation of a radar or communication radio by saturating its receiver with noise or false information. The jammer places a signal into the radar receiver that interferes with the reception or processing of the reflected signals returning from the target.
Swarm drones is a potent weapon which can perform multiple tasks like intelligence gathering, surveillance, precision attacks etc, thus assisting fighting troops without risking their life. To enable success of drone swarm operations, it is mandatory to prevent enemy radars and jammers interfering with own operations. Thus, for assured success of operations, it is required to develop a light weight ‘on board’ drone jammer system with independent source of power to not impact drone flight endurance.
This system will be capable of jamming the X band (8 to 12 Ghz) frequency range. It will be a lighter system with a weight of just 5 KG and can jam a X band radar from a stand off range of 1 KM.
The most important significant thing here is the timeline. The system is supposed to be deployed for testing in 90 days. Also, users are supposed to complete the testing of the platforms with in 60 days.
Overall, the progress is in right direction. All these additions will further add to the capabilities of the Indian armed forces significantly. The focus on the capability is a positive indication and it will for sure increase further in coming days.
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