Army bolsters military capability with two sets of swarm drones for surveillance, close recce


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New Delhi: In a fillip to its ongoing modernisation process, the Indian Army has inducted two sets of swarm drones for surveillance and punitive operations.

Swarm drones refer to several unmanned aerial vehicles that operate in coordination. These are equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can communicate with each other as well as with the control station. The AI-based algorithms on which the drones function enable them to distribute tasks, navigate operational areas, and prevent collision during reconnaissance flights.

The Army has also initiated work on specialised swarm drones that can be deployed in high-altitude areas like Eastern Ladakh, where it is involved in a standoff with the Chinese troops for over two years now.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the drones will prove to be a force multiplier in military operations, as evident from its application in the Ukraine crisis and other conflicts across the world, including in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, and strikes on oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

The swarm drones have been procured from two Indian startups — Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research and Technology, run by former Indian Air Force officer Sameer Joshi, and Noida-based Raphe mPhibr Private Limited.

The contract for these swarm drones was signed in September last year and hailed as a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), LOKJANTA STAFF had reported.

The Army has been focusing heavily on drone technology and is in the process of inducting various types of unmanned aerial vehicles. The force has also made key changes to drone formations and moved its assets from the Artillery to the Army Aviation Corps as part of streamlining its modernisation processes.

Swarm drones for surveillance, close recce

A group of swarm drones operating in conjunction with ground forces will provide aerial manoeuvre capability during offensive and defensive operations, thereby enhancing the combat potential of the Army, the sources said.

These drones will be integrated with both mechanised and armoured columns.

“We need swarm drones for providing tactical commanders with a force multiplier capable of providing surveillance inputs, undertaking close recce of a particular area to confirm inputs received from other ISR resources, while also having the ability to engage varied targets including artillery and air defence equipment, enemy command and control centres, besides armoured vehicles,” a source said.

The AI-based Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) feature in swarm drones enables these aerial vehicles to automatically recognise targets like tanks, guns, vehicles and humans while relaying back information to the control station screen.

This minimises chances of an operator missing any target and also facilitates engagement by a suitable type of weapon platform, sources added.

Also read: PM to commission 1st indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant on 2 Sept, India joins select club


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