Troops on ground in Jammu and Kashmir will soon have their own “eyes in the sky”. The Army is procuring 20 miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be deployed in the operationally sensitive Northern Command.
These UAVs, sources said, would be used for general surveillance along the Line of Control as well as in certain volatile areas in the hinterland. These would also be used during anti-terrorist operations for providing real-time intelligence and for detecting intrusions as well as for limited search and rescue.
Many armed forces the world over use mini UAVs for tactical purposes. These are man-portable systems that can be transported and operated by a crew of two and three. Though much smaller than the UAVs used for long range and high endurance reconnaissance, these nonetheless have emerged as indispensable force multipliers in combat situations where visual contact with the opponent is difficult, specially in rough terrain. Such systems are also being use extensively by the Allied forces in Afghanistan.
Several counties have designed and developed a range of mini UAVs. The Defence Research and Development Organisation also recently demonstrated its capability to produce a mini UAV, which has been christened Netra. Besides the Armed Forces, it has also been offered to the state police forces for security management and handling law and order situations.
The system being sought by the Army would be equipped with cameras and sensors having low light as well as night photography capability besides having the ability for simultaneous recording and transmitting imagery in real time. Also, it has the ability to operate in rough field conditions and combat environment, as the sound of its propulsion gear is not heard beyond about 50 metres and a runway is not required for its launch and recovery.
The Army’s requirement is that the system should have a minimum flying endurance of one hour and a service ceiling above 1000 metres with a radio-control range in excess of five kilometres.