Indian Army gets first indigenous suicide drones with reusable technology

The Indian Army has received the first batch of domestically produced man-portable suicide drones, called Nagastra-1, according to a report by The Economic Times (ET).

These drones are engineered to accurately strike enemy training camps, launch pads, and infiltrators, thus minimising risk to soldiers.

The drones have been designed and developed fully in India by Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), a subsidiary of Solar Industries, and have an indigenous content of over 75 per cent.

This addition enhances the army’s capability to execute shallow strikes across the border when necessary.

Nagastra-1 is a cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for loitering munitions with advanced features such as abort, recover, and reuse capabilities.

The army ordered these drones using its emergency procurement powers, and they were delivered within a year to address urgent needs along the Pakistan and China borders.

Furthermore, these drones are capable of operating from high-altitude areas in extreme temperatures.

These systems can target a variety of soft-skin threats and offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional missiles and precision munitions.

They are particularly suited for lower-end targets, such as groups of infiltrating terrorists at the border.

One notable feature is the parachute recovery mechanism, allowing the munition to be retrieved and reused in case of an aborted mission.

Such systems are widely used in contemporary conflicts, including the Ukraine-Russia war and the Armenia-Azerbaijan skirmishes.

Previously, the armed forces procured similar systems from foreign vendors during an earlier round of emergency acquisitions, albeit at a much higher cost.

Key features of Nagastra-1 drones

Nagastra-1 is equipped with a range of features that set it apart from similar systems developed by more technologically advanced countries.

The suicide drones can neutralise any hostile threat with GPS-enabled precision strikes with an accuracy of 2 metres.

The fixed-wing electric UAV has an endurance of 60 minutes, a man-in-loop range of 15 km, and a range of 30 km in autonomous mode.

The munition can carry a 1 kg warhead up to a range of 15 km, with an upgraded version capable of carrying a 2.2 kg warhead up to 30 km.

In case a target is not detected or if the mission is aborted, the loiter munition can be called back and made a soft landing with a parachute recovery mechanism, enabling it to be reused multiple times.