Indian Army gets ready for future wars! Embraces new, disruptive techs with drones’ display on Army Day

By: |
January 15, 2021 6:13 PM

It is an indigenous system which has been built to cater for the most demanding surveillance operations of the Indian Forces.

The Army is also working with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). (Photo- Indian Army)The Army is also working with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). (Photo- Indian Army)

In an effort to showcase its embracing of emerging and disruptive technologies, the Indian Army on Friday, Jan 15, 2021, carried out a live demonstration of Drone Swarming capability. It used 75 indigenously designed and developed drones. These drones performed an array of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled simulated offensive missions and close support tasks at the Parade Ground, Delhi Cantt.

According to an official statement, “this demonstration was carried out to highlight how the Army is preparing itself to meet future security challenges and transforming itself from manpower-intensive to a technology-enabled force.”

The Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, earlier this week in an interaction with the media had talked about the Army investing heavily into Artificial Intelligence (AI), Autonomous Weapon Systems, Quantum Technologies, Robotics, Cloud Computing and Algorithm Warfare.

Why? As these will help in achieving a convergence between the Army’s warfighting philosophies and also the military attributes of these technologies.

Financial Express Online has been focusing on the AI and related technologies for future war fare and how it can help the armed forces as well as the paramilitary forces.

Also Read | Future warfare and drones: AI-enabled stealthy combat drones in Indian skies

According to Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I & Drones expert, “To engage in threats emanating out of terrorists hideout and sanctuaries, the drones have a huge advantage and can be used as an alternative to using soldiers.”

Adding, “When when weaponized, aerial systems like UAVs or Drones are most cost-effective solutions and have potent lethality.”

Importance of a Swarm of Weaponised Drones

These can create an impenetrable screen against incoming targets, like a missile. While the police forces in the country have inducted the drones using them mainly for surveillance, for the armed forces the drones have a peacetime military role. They can be used as a `mule’ and deliver replenishment material to troops who are bunkered in inaccessible positions in regions.

With the drones becoming weaponised, it has changed the way the future wars will be fought. The impact of these will be seen not only in the conventional warfare but, but also in asymmetric tactical response to the asymmetric threat of non-conventional targets and armed militant networks.

Indian Army & New Technologies

Several initiatives have been undertaken in coordination with Dreamers, Startups, MSMEs, Private Sector, and Academia. The Indian Army is working with a Start-Up in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Offensive Drone Operations. This project is an example of how the Indian Army merging the cutting edge of digital technologies with its human resource.

The Army is also working with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

Also Read | UAV for Armed Forces: Boost to Make in India initiative, MSMEs can get UAV projects

For a real-time tactical operation while dealing with terrorist attacks there is an urgent need for higher automation in activities like Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

As per CAG report of 2018, the non-availability of critical UAV system has adversely affected the aerial surveillance capability of the Indian Army.

SWITCH UAV for the Indian Army

Earlier this week, the Indian Army has inked a $20 million contract with ideaForge to procure its flagship drone, SWITCH UAV. Though the quantities of the high-altitude variant of the drone has not been specified, these will be completed in a year’s time. For fast track procurement, the Indian company emerged as the only vendor that qualified the operational requirements in an evaluation done in real-world conditions.

More about SWITCH UAV

It is an indigenous system which has been built to cater for the most demanding surveillance operations of the Indian Forces.

It is Fixed Wing VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) UAV and has the capability to be deployed at high altitude and harsh environments. It is used for day and night surveillance in Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

According to the company this drone is man-portable and has the highest time on target compared to any other UAV in its class.

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