India’s defence indigenisation programme is taking great strides. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has taken an unprecedented lead in serving India’s growing defence needs, and it has been delivering the country with new and advanced systems which will, shortly, go a long way in securing the country. The 21st century has brought with it the advent of armed UAVs. These unmanned armed drones have proven to not just be game-changing, but also decisive in recent conflicts around the world – case in point being the Nagorno Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which Turkish drones effectively won the war on behalf of Baku.
India also faces a threat from missiles and rockets. China, in particular, is said to have installed several missile batteries across the Indo-Tibetan border, also known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Given the fact that China can fire missiles at India and can direct much of the Indian air force’s time and energy towards trying to neutralise such batteries and launching grounds, India needed to equip itself with high-tech and precision-guided air defence systems. DRDO has delivered on this very front, and India is well on the path of getting hold of an Iron Dome-like formidable air defence system.
Akash Prime Missile System
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday successfully tested a new version of Akash Surface to Air missile Akash Prime from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha. In comparison with the existing Akash System, Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active RF (radio frequency) seeker for improved accuracy. Other improvements also ensure more reliable performance under low-temperature environments, at higher altitudes.
A statement by the DRDO said, “The missile intercepted and destroyed an unmanned aerial target mimicking an enemy aircraft in its maiden flight test after improvements.” The flight test has validated the functioning of complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed RF Seeker, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control and Communication system, it said, adding that the test was carried out amidst bad weather conditions, “proving the all-weather capability of the weapon system”.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, while congratulating the DRDO, the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) stated that the successful flight test proved the competence of DRDO in the design and development of world-class Missile systems.
India’s Iron Dome in the Making?
India always required the tremendous capability of Israel to thwart almost all aerial attacks launched against it from around its neighbourhood, whether it be from the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas, or the Hezbollah dominated Lebanon to its north. Iron Dome is an effective, truck-towed, multi-mission mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The system has so far intercepted more than 2,500 incoming targets with a success rate of over 90%.
India’s Akash Prime system promises to take India many steps closer to its very own Iron Dome-like air defence system, which seamlessly protects Indian people and assets from enemy aerial attacks.
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Recently, the Indian Navy signed a contract with Bharat Electricals Limited(BEL) for India’s first indigenous anti-drone system. An anti-drone system basically can detect and jam an adversary’s unmanned aerial vehicle. This anti-drone system will keep Indian ships and air spaces secured from enemy drones of Pakistan and China.
Earlier, in the light of the attack on Air Force Base in Jammu, India had decided to procure the Israeli anti-drone SMASH 2000 Plus systems on an immediate basis.
Recently, India has decided to liberalise its drone rules and regulations, giving more opportunities for start-ups and unicorns to develop indigenous drones under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has also agreed to develop UAVs and drones with the United States, which can be launched from an aircraft. DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Indian Airforce and US air force will collaborate for this project.
India is fast progressing towards indigenising its defence forces and capabilities. Indigenisation and modernisation must go hand-in-hand for the armed forces to swiftly and decisively deal with all threats posed to India from several frontiers, and the DRDO has made it a mission to outdo its capabilities while trying to secure India’s future.