Drones are new threats for India

Saudi defence spokesman speaking about Drones
A Saudi defence ministry spokesman displays on a screen drones which Saudi government said attacked an Aramco facility, during a press conference in Riyadh on September 18, 2019.

While the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles—UCAVs—are within the news for his or her use by the us against terrorist targets, human and physical, mainly in West Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a “bolt from the blue”, the chances of other uses are endless: the drones also are getting used as “Kamikaze” drones, or suicide drones, wherein loaded with explosives, a UAV crashes into a target, as was probably wiped out the attack on Saudi oil facilities.

If put to use for criminal and terrorist activities, like spying on people and areas, smuggling drugs and weapons into prisons, also as terrorist attacks on people, vehicles or buildings, the chances become endless; the ISIS has reportedly used drones in Iraq and Syria to descend vertically over tanks/vehicles and drop explosives or act as booby traps.

 Drones became more powerful in recent years, with altitude, range, endurance, air speed and precision of navigation having improved appreciably, giving the drone the potential to hold more load. the amount of incidents of drones entering no-fly zones is on the rise; they need been sighted at airports—both in India and abroad—or large gatherings; so far such incidents haven’t caused any major harm, but drones also can be used for specific terrorist purposes. Consequently, security authorities are becoming increasingly alarmed, as no effective defense system has been devised so far.

 In 2014, a drone with a flag displaying Greater Albania was suddenly seen floating above the gridiron in Belgrade, during a eu Football Championship qualifier between Albania and Serbia. With passions already running high, this triggered riots, leading to the whole game being called off.

What if the drone was carrying explosives, rather than the flag? Another instance occurred in broad daylight on August 4, 2018, in Venezuela, when President Nicolas Maduro, was apparently targeted with an off-the-shelf consumer drone.

 As early as in 2013, alittle quadcopter flew within a couple of feet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a campaign rally, hovering briefly ahead of the stage before crashing onto it. Even alittle charge or a grenade aboard the drone would are catastrophic—and defending against such attacks is extremely difficult, to mention the smallest amount .

The precision drone attack by the Houthi rebels of Yemen, targeting the economic heart of Saudi Arabia , on September 14, 2019, has finally given the proverbial “David” a weapon to live up to his “Goliath” like opponents.

 The attack was a complete surprise for the Saudi air defence, which, equipped with the newest of US-supplied radars and anti-ballistic missile defences, was caught totally unaware. it had been administered with precision, on targets quite 800 km faraway from their place of launch! As drones become smaller and quieter, they’re easier to move and launch, while being harder to detect and intercept, thus making them deadlier.

 Their relatively low cost and straightforward availability of fabric and components lower the technical threshold for his or her fabrication during a rough and prepared environment. A tactical success by a comparatively small player can deal a strategic blow with wider ramifications.

Immediately after the attack on Saudi oil installations, there are two reported instances of drones flying across the International Border from Pakistan into Punjab; the primary was in late September within the Amritsar area, wherein, eight sorties were flown under cover of darkness, over a period of 10 days, while the second intrusion was within the Hussainiwala sector in Ferozepur area.

The drones were reported to be carrying arms, ammunition, satellite-phones and other equipment for initiating terrorist activities by sleeper cells in Punjab and J&K, of which some are recovered. In thus far because the ramifications of the attack on Saudi oil facilities, India’s vulnerability is clear . aside from the safety angle, it’s economic issues too, as India is that the world’s third-largest oil consumer, importing 83% of its oil needs; Saudi Arabia is India’s second largest supplier after Iraq.

 While Saudi Arabia assured India of meeting its requirements and got the oil terminals running within 10 days, India doesn’t have enough reserves amongst the importing nations.

However, more worrisome for India are the drone-intrusions in Punjab from Pakistan, which has sleeper-cells on our side, to supply real-time information for any inimical activity.

Media reports of Michaelmas , 2019 have revealed that India has an estimated over 600,000 rogue or unregulated drones of varied sizes and capacities and anybody of those are often used for launching a terror act. Agencies are presently watching specific anti-drone techniques to intercept and immobilise suspicious and probable lethal drones, which include tracking, jamming, kinetic and hybrid measures through hijacking and cyber approaches; such and other counter-drone measures are already in situ in some countries.

 BSF has been given instructions to shoot down any suspicious drone below 1,000 feet, as anything above that height might be an aircraft and wishes appropriate clearances for any action to be taken. As drones become smaller and faster, new solutions are going to be required to disable them.

 it’s important for anti-drone technology to be relatively future-proof, as drones will now be far smaller, maintain higher altitudes, and be equipped with advanced cameras with improved zooming systems. Smaller, lighter and more complex drones with multi-tasking ability are coming.

we’d like an integrated national-level approach against the looming threat involving Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and therefore the industry, in conjunction with the National Security Adviser and overseen by the Prime Minister’s Office. Security agencies, including the soldiers and therefore the police forces need to join hands and add tandem on a war footing.

Drones are a replacement security threat. India has got to catch up with counter-drone technology. We cannot afford any laxity or delays in tackling this threat. sky marshal (Retd) Dhiraj Kukreja is an alumnus of National War College, us , having the unique distinction of being the primary IAF officer and only the fifth from the Indian soldiers , to possess undergone a post-graduation course in “National Security Strategy”.

 Having held many important staff and field appointments, during his 40 years within the IAF, he retired because the AOC-in-C of coaching Command. Post-retirement, he has been writing extensively on defence and diplomacy. he’s a “Distinguished Fellow” with the Centre for Airpower Studies (CAPS) and a defence analyst.