Countering Drones: Cost is the most important factor, says expert

Submersible UAV: Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University. (Photo sourcde)

During the Bosnian War Serbs utilized helicopters with door gunners to fly alongside pricey NATO UAVs and simply shot them down with PKMs. “It’s a straightforward and cost-effective approach,” says Debajit Sarkar, expert on competitive intelligence and market research in the aerospace and defence industry.

“The Indian Army’s ground-based radars can detect almost all types of drones there by allowing a variety of weapons to be used to neutralize them cheaply before they cause any damage or harm. Similarly jamming systems and electronic warfare weapons that can locate control sites and enemy launch locations are also useful in counter drone operations,” Mr Sarkar explains to Financial Express Online.

How can India deal with drone attacks?

According to him, “The cost is the most important factor here. You would like something inexpensive and simple that can deal with a large number of targets… preferably without the target realizing you are there.”

“A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) HTT-40 light turboprop aircraft armed with twin Igla type Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) under each wing pylon might hover around for quite some time, destroying such drones. As a result, attaching MANPADS to an aircraft and launching it in forward flight at the same altitude as the target drone will make a missile like the Stinger or Igla far more potent and effective as an air-to-air missile than a MANPAD launched from the ground.”

Financial Express Online has reported about Russia’s offer of IGLA-S (SA-24) its latest MANPADS technology to the Indian Army. This offers superior performance over the earlier SA-18 missiles which are already inducted in the service. This system is designed for use against visible targets including unmanned aerial vehicle, cruise missile, tactical aircraft, and helicopters, head-on or receding, in the presence of natural (background) clutter and countermeasures.

According to Mr Sarkar, “On the HTT- 40 or the HAL-Rudra the Indian armed forces can add quad-mounted MANPADS, as well as laser-guided 80mm or 57mm rockets with HE Frag warheads, laser-guided cannon shells with airburst rounds, and, of course, cheap command-guided and detonated HE ATGMs like Shturm and Ataka missiles, and a wide range of drones can be wiped out quickly and effectively.”

What Swarm Drone Attack?

For India, its biggest concern is Pakistan which has been exploiting the use of drones for dropping weapons and at times drugs in certain areas of Punjab.

The drones used by the terror groups operating from Pakistan are commercially available drones and improvising them to wage deadly guerrilla-war campaigns against the Indian Army

According to a security expert, “It is always difficult to hold a group or a nation responsible in a drone strike scenario. At times any terror group which could be looking for instant fame could claim to have launched the attack.”

Controlled by a human, these Swarm drones are being directed to their targets. Soon this will change. With the rapid advancement made by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms, the human handling the drone will no longer be needed. Why? Because these swarm drones will soon be able to make decisions among themselves.

As far as the militaries of NATO and China are concerned they are already testing unified and cooperative drones. These can be used for causing damage to the enemy.

“These inexpensive, intelligent creatures are inspired by swarms of insects, and are going to revolutionize future battles,” explains Mr Sarkar.

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