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UAV India Civil and Military 2019 focuses on military uses of UAVs in India

The world is becoming more complex, dynamic and dangerous, and to make it a safer place and defend it from any kind of threat, technology advancement is the need of the hour. Drones as force multiplier have a great role to play in this process. These were the words of Captain (IN) Abhishek Ram, Director of Naval Air Staff, Naval Headquarters, while addressing the UAV India Civil and Military conference in New Delhi on Thursday.

Giving detailed synopsis of drone operations across maritime domain and its impact on naval operation, he said India needs improved acquisition and rapid dissemination of information, where drones can play a very eminent role.

UAVs are major force multipliers in battles. They are economical and their development and maintenance is easier than the conventional warfighting machines. Thye also reduce the risk of human life. In recent years, the capabilities of unmanned vehicles have been employed over a larger spectrum of combat and civil/commercial roles which in turn has driven the UAV market.

Talking about the importance of UAV and its popularity, Major General, Shammi Raj, SM additional Director General, Perspective Planning Directorate, Army Headquarters said, The UAV market is growing exponentially. It is expected that the market of drones will rise to 11.6 billion in coming decades’’. UAVs are disrupting almost every industry today, application areas of drones are limitless. From wildlife conservation to disease control, emergency response, insurance to mapping, UAVs are being used in multiple sectors. He added further.

The ability to safely and quickly gather data and to access inaccessible locations opens a world of possibilities of drones use. Their ability to thoroughly and accurately map natural features while minimizing human trespass may lead to better understanding of ecologically fragile areas. Looking at its usability Indian armed forces plan to induct 5,000 UASs in next 10 years. These are great force multipliers, UAS will have exponential growth in demand for civil uses in India over the next 5-10 years.

Brigadier RS Raghav (RPAs, LRVs, and Operations), Artillery Directorate, Army HQ, India Army highlighted technological advancement that India needs in terms of UAVs. He emphasised that India needs to integrate emerging technologies with UAVs. Like for example integration of Artificial Intelligence with UAVs enables them to perform simple tasks, helps to auto detect and identify target and provide weapon support passive and active electronic warfare, communication support, IED detection.  

However, drones can also be a threat. In recent times, there have been many cases where drones have risked people’s lives and have breached safety and security. Focusing on this Air Vice Marshal Surat Singh, AVSM, VM, VSM, ACAS operations (Space), Air Headquarters talked about the requirement of Counter Drone technology.

Counter Drone is a system that is specifically designed to track and intercept drones. The technology depends on a variety of techniques for detecting or intercepting drones. Mostly drones are spotted using techniques like Radio Frequency (RF) detection, Electro-Optical and Infrared and are then destroyed with techniques like RF Jamming, GNSS Jamming, Spoofing, Laser, nets, projectile or Combined Interdiction Elements.

The two day event, UAV India Civil and Military focused on the development, military and civil employment and potential of UAVs in India, including unmanned combat air vehicles, micro and mini UAVs, payloads, ground stations, aerial targets and maritime unmanned systems. The event was organized by Indian Military Review.