Indian Army To Deploy Suicide Drones to Boost Artillery in Forward Posts Along China Border
11:04 GMT 23.12.2021 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
Recent satellite imagery shows that China is continuously building-up military assets in the friction areas along the Line of Actual Control — that border dividing it from China from Ladakh in the north to Arunachal Pradesh way to the east. The Indian Army is equipping its forces in forward posts with advanced weaponry.
The Indian army has aimed to procure at least 10 sets of medium-range precision kill system (MRPKS) - comprising 120 loitering munitions - to deploy them in the areas of the northern border.
These loitering munitions
, also known as suicide drones, will enhance the capabilities of the army's artillery units.
"The current and future battlefield milieu necessitates precision-guided munitions to achieve first strike kill and psychological ascendance over the enemy," the army document read.
The army said that the need for such a weapon system would be intensified because of the wide spectrum of conflict - ranging from sub-conventional operations to full-scale war.
These munitions are designed to be used at more than 4,000 metres above sea-level, and can detect and destroy targets such as radar installations, including weapon-locating radar, air defence systems
, logistics storage depots, and armoured vehicles at a distance up to 40km from the launch site.
"The munition system should have the capability for homing in on the allocated target even if communication from the ground station is disrupted," the army said.
Bengaluru-based Alpha-Elsec, a joint venture company of India's Alpha design and Israel's Elbit Security System, and Nagpur-based Solar Industries are some of the prime contenders of the army's tender.
The Indian Air Force at present operates Harop loitering strike drones of Israeli origin.
In September, the army placed its first order of swarm drones and advanced loitering munitions with Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research and Technology for deployment in regions of great altitude.
6 December 2021, 20:44 GMT
In September, India and the US also signed a project agreement to co-develop an Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane emphasised the need to adapt to the exigencies of modern wars to preserve territorial integrity, by pointing to developments along the northern borders since May 2020.
In July, Naravane said the imaginative and offensive use of drones, riding on AI algorithms, "first in Idlib and then in Armenia-Azerbaijan, have challenged the traditional military hardware of war: the tanks, the artillery and the dug-in infantry."
China's defence companies have developed several types of suicide drone, including the CH-901 and WS-43, which can hit any target at a distance up to 60km. The People's Liberation Army also has Wing Loong Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) drones.
India and China continued their winter deployment for the second consecutive year - the first time this has been the case since the 1962 war.
Unverified satellite imagery shows that both the countries have continued their build-up along the Line of Actual Control in October.
Border tensions between the two countries erupted in May 2020 over border infrastructure as both sides accused each other of violating boundary agreements.