The Indian UAV Arsenal
|Indian Army Nishant UAV|
It's unbelievable numbers of unmanned platforms currently on the tri -services. not only but Armed forces want double the Numbers of UAV's, as of now estimated that the Armed forces using more than two hundred of unmanned platforms.
The Forces looking for micro UAV's like the Raven to MQ 4 Triton HALE UAV's, as of now Army operating more number of MALE ( medium altitude long endurance ) UAV's most of them used for only Reconnaissance and Target Tracking, which they designed to used,
But the Air force uses Killer drones like the Israeli Harpy and Haroop drones. the number of these drones still classified, that nearly hundred of them under operational by the Indian Air force, these drones used for SEAD operations only.
The Haroop is an advanced UCAV used only by the Indians and Israeli's designed to Kill enemy radars and early warning networks, due to it's highly stabilized aero dynamic and slow speed, it's more maneuverable and fly too low and loiter before attack the target, this is the only good platform to attack high value targets before going to full assault.
The Indian Airforce and Navy operating more advanced recon platform the IAI Heron MALE UAV's which can capable to fly more than two days continuously at an altitude of 10,000 Meters, they using this platform to track and recon specified area's for Counter Intelligence mission. some good characteristics are if you lost the control of such UAV's the UAV itself come back where you launched. such capabilities gives an upper edge to the UAV can't fall in enemy hands, like the RQ 170 saga. the Numbers of Heron is estimated more than sixty.
But the Army uses dedicated UAV's, Army have more than hundreds of IAI Searcher drones. significantly less performance compared to the Heron. both range and altitude unlike the Heron It's designed to capable of tracking ground threats and recon missions. here also the numbers are unknown but more than 100 drones is in operational under the Army Aviation as of now.
The home grown ADE Nishat is an another good UAV used by the Army, Nearly 10 of them under operational only by the Indian Army. unlike other drones It's have some other good features, a bit difficult to launch, you need the catapult truck to launch the Nishant, and it can be land with the use of Parachute free fall technique. the Nishant is an Battle UAV, used for many operation, since it's Endurance is capped less than 4 hours.
But it can do good things such as guidance to target acquisition, Artillery fire support, that means, the Nishant guide the Artillery course to set the co ordinates correct to the enemy positions, to increase the Kill probability of Artillery, SIGNINT- the Nishant's payload capable to intercept enemy communications, if Nishant flies above enemy post any if they using wireless for communication Nishant track it and feed it to Indian command centers.
There is a wheeled version of Nishant under trails knows as Panchi, which can be fulfill the Army's requirement and improvements in the early Nishant model, if trails successful army plans to add a fleet of hundred such UAV's in it's fleet to increase the Fire and Recon power.
The Navy and DRDO uses the PTA for testing purpose, which can be used for testing Air defense missile's performance, the Lakshya used as a Target to the SAM and other Missiles to measure the performance of the SAM and missile system, the Astra and Akash already tested with PTA.
There were couple more micro UAV's under operational by the Forces the good one is the NETRA Quad copter, it's not comes under the UAV category, it's good for search and rescue's Indian Para military such as BSF, ITBP using this. under NDRF it's proven it's performance in tough terrian and weather conditions.
DRDO also studying the possible UCAV's the armed fighting drone under the code name of Aura, but the program is too classified and the details unknown to the Public.
DRDO also engaged a project which is a HALE UAV which powered by solar power, used for long endurance recon mission, which is expected to be revealed within two years.
|Indian Air force Heron UAV|