– By FrontlinerUV

With the advancement in technology, warfare has become more advance and complex. One of the latest addition to the modern warfare is Loitering Munition drones. These drones are a cheaper alternative to armed drones for short-distance precision strikes. They can carry a warhead and loiter over the battlefield to identify the target. Once the identification task is complete, it crashed onto the target, causing damage and destruction.

The loitering munitions are small and lightweight, which make them hard to detect. These drones are used against targets like Armoured vehicles, military outposts, and Ammunition storage. In addition, with the help of A.I., It can be used for operations like suppression/ destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/ DEAD) by forming a swarm of it. 

There are many types of loitering munitions-

  • Fixed wing,
  • Fixed tandem wings,
  • Expandable tandem wings,
  • Multi-rotor, and VTOL.

These can be manually launched (hand launched), pneumatic assisted launch , catapult launch, canister and multi-barrel based system.  A typical system carries an electrooptical payload like a daylight camera, imaging infra-red seeker, and laser range finder for target acquisition. These drones use electric or fuel-based propulsion system. 

While countries like the U.S.A., Israel, Iran, and China are dominating this technology. India, UAE and Turkey are also catching up in this race. 

We have seen these drones in action during Nagorno-Karabakh war and ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. In Nagorno-Karabakh war, Azerbaijan used Harop loitering munition made by Israeli Aerospace Industry. It mainly used to destroy Armenian command posts and for SEAD operation against Armenian SAM sites and made clear way for TB-2 ground strikes. 

In ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, Ukrainian forces used American made AeroVironment Switchblade-300 and Switchblade-600 for anti-personnel and anti-armoured operations. On the other hand, Russian forces are using Iranian Shahed-136 and Russian Zala Lancet for Anti-Armoured operation and to destroy Ukrainian military installations. Shahed-136 can be use in swarm attack. 

Another emerging weapon in unmanned system category is micro-munitions carrying drones. These drones are easily available in market and provide a cost effective solution for a short range operation. These systems with minimum modification and integration of micro-munitions can be used for anti-personnel role and against light military vehicles. Ukrainian forces are using these types of drones against Russian military personnels. 

In recent past, India has seen a massive push in this segment. Currently, many Indian companies are developing and testing Loitering Munitions, Micro-Munitions carrying drones and Micro-Munitions. We have shortlisted some of these companies and their product on the basis of publicly available information.

  1. NewSpace Research and Technologies 
    • ALFA (Autonomous Loitering Flexible Assets) 
      • Part of Combat Air Teaming Systems (CATS)
      • Can be launched from Air/ glide pod/ Canister 
      • Swarming capable
      • Service ceiling- 6 Km.
      • Range- 160 Km
      • Endurance- Greater than 60 min
  • TIA-AV (Tactical Interdiction and Attack Air Vehicle)
  • Mackerel (Multirotor Kamikaze drone launched from mothership drone)
  • NIMBUS MK-3 – Heterogeneous Swarming UAV
  • SARPA (Swarm Adaptable Reconnaissance & Precision Attack)

2. Bharat Dynamics Limited

  • Hexacopter (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

3. Tata Advanced Systems Limited 

a. ALS-50 

  • Weight- Less than 50 Kg 
  • Range- 50+ Km.
  • Endurance- 60+ Min.
  • VTOL 
  • Multiple warhead option  
  • Work in GPS denied environment 
  • Anti- Jamming Capability
  • Abort and Re-engage option 

4. Solar Industries- (Zmotion/ Economic Explosive Limited)

a. Nagastra- 1/ Trinetra 

  • Range- 15 Km.
  • Endurance- 60 Min.
  • Warhead- 1-1.5 Kg.
  • Cruise speed- 20 m/s
  • High explosive fragmenting warhead for soft-skin targets and top-attack anti-armoured warhead for combat vehicles.
  • Abort option 
  • Parachute Recovery

b. Nagastra- 2

  • Range- 25 Km.
  • Endurance- 90 Min.
  • Weight- less than 25 Kg.
  • Anti-Jamming capability 
  • Anti-Armour operation

c. Rudrastra (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

  • Range- 10 Km.
  • Endurance- 30 Min.
  • Payload capacity- 5Kg

5. Raphe mPhibr

a.MR-10 (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

  • Endurance- 3 Hrs.
  • Range- 50 Km.
  • Payload Capacity- 10 Kg.
  • Operational Altitude- Up to 12000 Ft. AMSL
  • Speed- 60 Kmph
  • Day & Night Camera
  • Anti-jamming capability
  • Swarming capable

b.Bharat (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

  • Payload Capacity- 4 Kg.
  • Endurance- 45 Min.

6. Redon Systems

a. Achuk

  • Range- 30Km.
  • Operational Altitude- 3Km.
  • Warhead- 1.5 Kg
  • Work in GPS Denied environment
  • Swarming capable
  • Pneumatic Canister launch system

7. Cingularity Aerospace

a. Sierra Tango

  • Warhead- 7 kg
  • Endurance- 2-2.5 Hrs.
  • Catapult launch system
  • Detachable wings

8. Kadet Defence Systems

a. Anudishya 

  • Range- More than 300 Km
  • Range- 125 m/s (450 Kmph)
  • Payload Capacity- 20 Kg
  • Swarming Capable
  • Catapult launch

b. JXV-100 ASADS (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

  • Range- 40 Km
  • Endurance- 45 Min.
  • Payload- 6 Kg.

9. Johnnette technologies

a. JM-1

  • Range- 17 Km.
  • Endurance- 60 Min.
  • Payload- 500 gm. (Camera + HE-Frag Warhead)
  • Pneumatic Launcher

10. Garuda Aerospace 

a. Vajra 

  • Range- 160 Km.
  • Endurance- 6 Hrs.
  • Cruise Speed- 25 m/s
  • Payload- 10 Kg
*Not a loitering munition but can serve the same purpose.

11. Paras Aerospace

a. Archer (Micro-Munitions carrying Drone)

  • Range- 20 Km
  • Endurance- 40 Min.
  • Payload- 10 Kg

12. Hawking Defence

a. Balidan Micro Drone

  • Video feed range- 5Km
  • Endurance- 20 min.
  • Speed- 120 Kmph
  • Swarming Capable

13. Bharat Dynamics Limited

a. Micro-Munitions

  • UAV Launched PGM (ULPGM) >3-4 km
  • 1.5 Km range Missile
  • 1 Km range missile
  • 1 Kg unguided bomb
  • 3.5 Kg unguided bomb

14. Veda Aeronautics

a. Veda-X

  • Swarming Capable

The listed loitering munitions are some those systems which were present at various defence exhibitions, but the list is longer. So, we invite you to add those which we missed in the comments below…

By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

3 thoughts on “The Massive Loitering Munition Push of India”
  1. It came after a long period of time by the way your contents are great sir..I hope we will see the next article soon…thank you for providing such information in that perspicuous language…❤️❤️

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