New inductions are part of a series of emergency procurements made by the Army to the tune of Rs 18 crore
New Delhi: From the indigenously man-portable loitering munitions that can hover and hit targets silently, to swarm drones capable of both carrying load and strike capability, and new and swanky armoured personnel carriers, the Indian Army has introduced many new weapons in its arsenal in over a year. It is now showcasing their operational integration with their strike formations, according to information shared in a series of social media posts.
Induction of drones has been an important part of force modernisation for the Indian armed forces, and the validation exercise of the Army Strike Corps in the desert saw the army conducting operational usage of swarm drones.
The validation exercise was reviewed by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Pande, and saw the validation of multi-domain operations with deep manoeuvres, integrating modern technology, new-generation equipment and weapon systems, the Army said on the social media platform X (previously Twitter).
The Army started taking delivery of its first heterogeneous swarm unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system for use on the battlefield in February. The drones have been supplied to the Indian Army by a Bengaluru-based start-up, NewSpace Research & Technologies. The swarm of 100 drones can hit targets at least 50 kms away into enemy territory.
A swarming system comprises a group of UAVs which engage with one another using advanced autonomy, computing, communication, and artificial intelligence (AI) protocols to execute various mission objectives with little to no human intervention.
The Army has also armed itself with indigenously-made loitering munitions — aerial weapon systems which stay airborne and loiter around a larger target area and attack only once the actual target is located — as well as new armoured personnel carriers.
The new inductions are part of a series of emergency procurements made by the Army to the tune of Rs 18 crore.
Loitering Munitions And Armed Personnel Carriers
During the 37th Infantry Commanders’ Conference in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow this month, the Army displayed the indigenously-made Nagastra-1 loitering munitions.
In April this year the Army had signed a contract under emergency procurements to purchase more than 450 completely indigenous Nagastra-1 loitering munitions. A Nagpur-based company, Solar Industries, secured the contract to supply these munitions to the Army.
Nagastra-1 can abort, recover, and reuse capabilities. It is a fully man portable autonomous loitering munition or drone that can hover, locate, acquire, and strike with high precision operator-designated targets with a 1 or 1.5 kg highly lethal warhead installed inside the fuselage.
Its electric propulsion system provides low acoustic signature (low sound emissions) to make it undetectable by the enemy at a height of more than 200 metre.
The Nagastra-I carries a high explosive fragmenting warhead for soft-skin targets or anti-armour top attack warhead for combat vehicles. In Kamikaze mode it allows troops and special forces to undertake covert operations.
Kamikaze drones are also known as ‘suicide drones’ as they are capable of attacking the enemy through self-destruction. These drones were supplied to the army by NewSpace Research during the February 2023 edition of the Aero India air show and aviation exhibition in Bengaluru.
During the Infantry Commanders’ Conference, the Army also displayed the Kalyani M4 vehicles — mine-protected, high-mobility, armoured personnel carriers manufactured by Kalyani Group.