Drones – Force Multiplier in Combat and Commercial Applications (Part 2)

Overview of India’s Military Drone Arsenal

In the Indian context, the Indian Armed Forces has long been operating the imported Israeli Searcher and Heron drones for C4ISTAR roles and even possesses anti-radiation suicide drones from Israel itself, however they do not as yet have armed or missile firing drones their inventory. Refer Table.

Source: MoD and Compiled by https://thedefencespace.com/

However, India is now looking to change this scenario. The Indian Government is not only emphasising on procuring of armed and advanced drones, but also encouraging indigenous development and production.

Considering last year itself, the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force signed multiple contracts worth over Rs 500 Crores in the sphere of drone technology with the focus on Indian companies.

Leading the three Services on the new contracts signed is the Army, which has signed three separate deals for various types of drones. This included two deals worth over Rs 200 Crores for two sets of Swarm drones with Indian start-ups — Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research and Tech, with few of them being inducted already. The Army also ordered over 100 tactical Indo-Israel kamikaze drones worth $20 Million, used in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, to enhance its operational capability. These drones will be manufactured in Bengaluru by a joint venture between Israel’s Elbit System and India’s Alpha Design, which is now part of the Adani Group. Besides, the Army has initiated a Make II case Autonomous Surveillance and Armed Drone Swarm (ASAD-S).

The Indian Navy has also placed a large order with an Indian joint venture firm for specialised drones. Besides, the ‘blue water’ force also has taken on lease two Sea Guardian drones from US to enhance surveillance over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The two non-weaponised MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones have been leased for one year with an option of extending the period by another year.

India’s Military Drone Market on The Rise

In addition to the above already signed orders, India have also initiated with additional procurement of more UAVs and UCAVs for both reconnaissance and punitive attacks in near future.

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