Indian Army plans to procure drones to counter enemy threats

New Delhi (IANS) Amid heightened threats at the borders with Pakistan and China, the Indian Army has planned to procure load ferrying drones, slow moving unmanned aerial vehicles doubled up as missiles, and artificial intelligence based solutions for change detection to carry out surveillance at high altitude border areas, sources in the armed forces said on Wednesday.

The Army Design Bureau, facilitator for Research and Development efforts and initiation of Procurements of Weapons and Equipment required by the Indian Army, brought together all stakeholders at Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment on Tuesday where 40 different companies showcased their defense equipment, consisting mostly of drones and artificial intelligence based security solutions.

The bureau, which was set up in 2016, roped in the Defence Research and Development Organisation, academia, defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Boards, and private industry to deliver higher quality defence products.

Present at the venue were all Indian Army commanders who had decided to procure slow moving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) doubled up as missile, known as loiter munition drones, to counter any threat from across the border.

Some of the UAVs showcased can also hit human targets. "It was a most preferred defence product during the meet and Indian Army has decided to procure as per need and requirement," said sources in the force.

A loiter munition drone is a kind of UAV designed to engage beyond line-of-sight ground targets with an explosive warhead. Loiter munitions are meant to provide infantry the capability to strike while they move carrying out surveillance.

There were also drones that can be used to carry loads up to 40 kgs above 10,000 feet. Indian Army stated that these drones would be very helpful in providing logistics during winters at high altitude when the roads are closed down due heavy snow making difficult to transport any logistics. "It will be very effective in treacherous terrains both on the China and Pakistan frontiers," said an Indian Army officer.

Recently the Intelligence Bureau has submitted a detailed report to the Defence and Home Ministries citing the threat of Pakistan state actors sending drones to smuggle ammunitions into India. It has also said that the drones recovered in Punjab were all of Chinese make.

Last month, Indian investigative agencies had recovered drones in Punjab which were apparently sent by terror groups linked with the Pakistan's ISI.

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