Thursday, July 08, 2021

‘Unauthorised drone not visible on any ATC radar’

Patna: Only ‘hard-kill’ methodology is available in civilian sector to bring down any suspected drone or remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAF) visible near any vital installation, sources in civil aviation ministry said.

A drone was used to attack Jammu Air Force Base on June 27. Incidentally, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) had arrested three persons with eight Chinese drones during vehicle checking at Kunba Chainpur near Motihari on India-Nepal border the same evening.

That had created a flutter as Bihar has a civilian airport at Patna and Gaya and a civil enclave at Darbhanga Air Force station. Besides, there are Air Force stations at Bihta and Purnia, too.

Union ministry of home affairs has standard operating procedure (SOP) for preventing drone attack on crucial installations and Bureau of Civil Aviation security has issued a circular on counter-drone technology for surveillance, detection and their neutralisation.

Sources said a high-level meeting took place between state government authorities and other central agencies soon after the Jammu attack to discuss the safeguard measures to counter drones.

A senior officer of civil aviation ministry, preferring anonymity, said drones are mainly chased by security personnel and shot down in ‘hard-kill’ methodology and it’s in the MHA SOP, too.

“As far as my knowledge says, there is no soft-kill methodology available in civilian sector yet in the country to counter an unwanted flying drone. Such methodology includes jamming radio frequency on which it is being controlled or frying internal circuitry using high-power laser beam. Such technologies are very costly. The armed forces may have such but there is no knowledge about them in public domain,” he said.

08/07/21 Debasish Karmakar/Times of India

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