UAVS: INDIA HAS TO MOVE FORWARD
Geopolitics|March 2021
India has made some significant use of UAVs in its internal security operations and considerable use for military surveillance. However, its own development projects are still limited and have not yielded major products for military use. This is rapidly changing, explains SANJAY BADRI-MAHARAJ
SANJAY BADRI-MAHARAJ

The growth of UAV systems has been astronomical. In military operations, the growth in the capability, effectiveness and range of unmanned aerial vehicles has been astonishing in the 21st century.

From mini-UAVs to High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UCAVs), the military use of UAS has become widespread. Compared to manned ABT he key advantages that these systems have, are the reduced design, test and line production costs which in return means that these systems can be produced in large numbers. These unmanned systems, can be used in “high risk” operations, like SEAD/DEAD missions against enemy air defences.

In the near feature, the unmanned systems will be equipped with solar panels in an effort to have – virtually – unlimited endurance together with their exploitation in new roles, like communications relay, which will have a reduced cost compare to the satellite equivalent. Furthermore, unmanned systems can be used in order to condense air defences and exhaust their payload. The future belongs to unmanned systems. Legacy manned aircraft will provide the role of “mother ship” to a variable number of unmanned combat systems.

In addition to these threats, consideration must be given to dealing with precision guided munitions and artillery, rocket and mortar bombs. These systems are increasingly able to target opposing positions with great efficacy. Given the need of AAD to protect high value military targets from such munitions, there will be an increasing need to develop systems to protect said targets.

To date, however, the effectiveness of AAA and SAMs against PGMs and artillery has been somewhat inadequate as the high speed and small profile of such weapons render interception exceedingly difficult. Thus, while UAVs are very useful for military applications, they also present significant challenges for defences.

Unmanned aerial systems in military operations

The growth in the capability, effectiveness and range of unmanned aerial vehicles has been astonishing in the 21 st century. From mini-UAVs to High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UCAVs), the military use of UAS has become widespread. Compared to manned ABT, the key advantages that these systems have, are the reduced design, test and lineproduction costs which in return means that these systems can be produced in large numbers. These unmanned systems, can be used in “high risk” operations, like SEAD/DEAD missions against enemy air defences. In the near future, the unmanned systems will be equipped with solar panels in an effort to have– virtually– unlimited endurance together with their exploitation in new roles, like communications relay, which will have a reduced cost compare to the satellite equivalent. Furthermore, unmanned systems can be used in order to condense air defences and exhaust their payload. The future belongs to unmanned systems. Legacy manned aircraft will provide the role of “mother ship” to a variable number of unmanned combat systems.

In addition to these threats, consideration must be given to dealing with precision guided munitions and artillery, rocket and mortar bombs. These systems are increasingly able to target opposing positions with great efficacy. Given the need of AAD to protect high value military targets from such munitions, there will be an increasing need to develop systems to protect said targets.

To date, however, the effectiveness of AAA and SAMs against PGMs and artillery has been somewhat inadequate as the high speed and small profile of such weapons render interception exceedingly difficult.

Internal security operations

Drones represent a potent asset in internal security operations. New tasks assigned to them include border security and surveillance as well as crowd monitoring and control.

Border surveillance

Drones may be a significant force multiplier in border security as they allow for real-time reconnaissance, target acquisition, and they can track movement of people and relay any illegal activities through a high-quality video feed. When drones mounted with thermal detection cameras, they are significantly superior at tracking irregular activities such as illegal border crossing attempts through dense woods or mountainous terrain as compared to stationary video cameras.

Police use

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