Thursday, October 15, 2020

Drones to be the future of warfare? India needs more code writers, data analysts

India has 15,106.7 km of land border and a coastline of 7,516.6 km including island territories and securing the borders against hostile forces is critical to the country’s security. Using armed drones in military operations no longer raises eyebrows, thanks to their widespread use in the on-going conflict in Afghanistan; or as seen in the ongoing conflict in Armenia-Azerbaijan (Nagorno Karabakh).

According to C4I expert Milind Kulshrestha, “With their unprecedented reconnaissance capabilities and the ability to trace a target for hours, the drone is the favourite word with all militaries. For the future of the Indian Military, the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) are important as they are capable of stealthily penetrating the enemy air space with an explosive payload and missiles.”

These come with the capability of engaging with air to surface (land/water) or air to air targets too, and with high optical day and night vision sensors they have an advanced navigation/control feature.

According to the C4I expert when deployed in a defence role a swarm of weaponised drones can create an impenetrable screen against incoming targets, including a missile. “With the potency in a combat drone, the military operations are going to witness huge change and the impact of UCAVs shall not only be seen in the conventional warfare but, even more so, in asymmetric tactical response to the asymmetric threat of armed militant networks and other non-conventional targets.”

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, the UAVs or Drones are going to replace 80 per cent of the operations presently carried out by the manned aircraft.

India first got a UAV back in 1996 when the Indian Army had acquired an Israeli Searcher MkI. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), out of the 22.5 per cent of the global UAV imports, India tops the list, as its own market is still at a nascent stage.

“Most of the videos pertaining to the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that have been released by either Azerbaijan or Armenia are inconclusive. For instance, Azerbaijan released a video of an Armenian S-300 SAM system that was apparently destroyed by Azerbaijani drone/UAVs. However, if you observe the video closely you will realize that the radars destroyed are not a part of the S-300 system. S-300 uses a PESA solid-state antenna, but the image of the destroyed radar shows a parabolic antenna and not an S-300 radar. UAVs/drones are certainly playing a role but not a major role in striking enemy positions. Furthermore, unlike India’s adversary like China, neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has a dense, overlapping Air Defense network that can intercept these drones,” observes Debajit Sarkar, an expert in Smart Weapons, Artificial Intelligence & Aerospace.

14/10/20 Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express

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