Counter UAS Technologies for India: A Prognosis

Lt Col Akshat Upadhyay is Research Fellow, Strategic Technologies Centre at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • October-December 2022

    Unmanned systems pose grave threat to several countries and their interests due to a number of reasons: low barrier of entry into the procurement sector, commercial availability off the shelf (COTS), ubiquity, persistence and low radar cross section (RCS). Due to this, counter drone systems have been either deployed piecemeal or existing air defence systems have been used to fill the gap. The Indian Armed Forces have a very limited experience of dealing with either drones or counter-drone systems in an operational environment. The Jammu attack using improvised drones was a wake-up call. With the impetus to indigenisation given through ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, this is an opportune time for the Indian defence industry to rise up to the challenge. However, it is equally important that certain guiding philosophies, based on other countries’ experiences, role of drones, threats posed and possible counter-measures be analysed so that a definite addition can be made in the drone literature in the Indian context. This article intends to do the same. By first briefly analysing the historical context under which the role of unmanned systems gained ground, followed by their unique characteristics and qualities, various counter-drone systems in vogue and case studies, the article attempts a prognosis on a practical counter-drone philosophy for the Indian Armed Forces, using a combination of academia and a practitioner’s perspective.

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