All about India's Warrior Drone: Air power teaming system explained

Combat Air Teaming System
What is India's new warrior drone

Why in news?

India’s new Warrior’drone, included in indigenous Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) has been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It also has private sector included in its development. This was revealed at Aero India 2021.

Airpower Teaming System- Details

  1. Boeing Australia is conducting the first engine run for its developing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) unmanned aircraft called ‘loyal wingman’.
  2. HAL’s Warrior is to be developed for going into combat as a loyal wingman drone. It would be used with currently manned fighter jets such as LCA Tejas and Rafale. This would both complement and maximise the effectiveness of these planes.
  3. Also, India’s first semi-stealth drone’s mockup, used in 2019 has been listed as HAL’s pavilion at Aero India show. It was used below LCA Tejas fighter which was carrying new systems part of CATS.
  4. The Warrior is part of the Combat Air Teaming System

What is Combat Air Teaming System?

  1. It is a composite amalgamation of manned and unmanned platforms that work in collaboration to penetrate any place/ airspace that is heavily and potentially defended by the enemy.
  2. Combat Air Teaming System parts that were displayed at Aero India 2021 also included a cruise missile named CATS Hunter along with CATS ALFA-S switchblade swarm drone.
  3. This manned-unmanned teaming system is still in its early stages in India
  4. It is being developed by the HAL along with private sector players.


Airpower teaming system- Process

  1. The system comprises of various drones housed in a carrier.
  2. The carrier is then mounted on a fighter. It has the ability to glide 100 km before deploying the drones.
  3. These drones are capable of hitting enemy targets like surface to air missiles sites and also the aircraft that are parked on the ground
  4. The loyal wingman could be armed with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles as well. 
  5. At Aero India, a warrior model was displayed this year which carries a Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW
  6. SAAW is an indigenously developed precision-guided, long-range,  stand-off munition made and designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  7. Later the fighter jets of IAF would be upgraded and modified to command unmanned warrior platforms. 
  8. A single fighter jet upgraded for the purpose will be able to command multiple Warrior drones and carry other elements of CATS.


Also Read: Why T-90 Tanks Are The ‘Most Feared’ Weapon In The Indian Armoury Against China: US Military Analyst Explains

Usage:

The use of Unmanned Warrior platform as a loyal wingman would act as a force multiplier along with reducing the potential of loss of life during air combat.

HAL is looking at the deadline of 2024-25 to develop its unique CATS system. It is a deep penetration attack system enal]bling the fighter jets pilot to remain safe within the country's borders while deploying missiles into enemy territory. 

Boeing is working on an Airpower Teaming System. It is also called the Boeing Loyal Wingman project, in Australia. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has also developed a loyal wingman aircraft called Valkyrie in the US.

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