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24 Feb 2018

Armed forces need over 400 drones to step up defense

To step up its defense, Indian armed forces require more than 400 drones, including directed energy weapons (DEWs) and submarine-launched remotely piloted aircraft, over the next 10 years.

Once acquired, these drones will equip India in destroying opponent targets and satellites, found a recent roadmap drafted by the defense ministry to assess India's offensive/defensive military requirements.

Read on for more.

In context

Armed forces in need of 400 drones

The drones India already has 

Currently, the Indian armed forces have about 200 unmanned aerial vehicles precision-targeting and long-range surveillance. Most of these have been imported from Israel. India also has Kamikaze drones, also called Israeli Harop "killer". They are essentially cruise missiles which explode into enemy radars and targets.


What kind of drones do the Army and Navy need?

*Over 30 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) combat remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA): To fly up to 30,000ft for over 24 hours, have extended satellite communication and fire missiles from a distance of over 20km

*100-150 MALE spy drones

*Over 20 tactical laser DEWs: To destroy electronic warfare, aerial targets, radars systems and "soft-skinned" vehicles within 6-20km range

*Over 20 electromagnetic weapon systems with 6-15 km range

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Other requirements

Moreover, the Army requires 55-70 stealth, 30 hybrid and 50 short-range RPAs.

The Navy meanwhile needs 10 submarine-launched RPAs and over 50 HALE (high-altitude, long endurance) drones which can launch vertically from warships.

Other than drones, the armed forces also need several wide-ranging weapons, submarines, destroyers, missiles, frigates, specialized ammunition and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) defense systems, reported Times of India.

Projects under work

India's Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a few DEW projects including Aditya gas dynamic laser systems and high-power fiber lasers. But most notably, it is working on combat drones Ghatak stealth UCAVs under a Rs. 2,650 crore project.

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