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The Indian Army is set to embark on a groundbreaking initiative to integrate micro-drones with its fleet of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs). This visionary project aims to enhance the Army’s combat capabilities by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous aerial systems.

Micro-drones, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have emerged as invaluable assets on the modern battlefield. Their compact size and advanced technology make them ideal for a wide range of applications, including reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. The Indian Army recognizes the potential of micro-drones to revolutionize its operations and is taking decisive steps to leverage this technology.

What sets these micro-drones apart is their AI-enabled functionality. They are equipped to operate autonomously at the point of collection, rapidly identifying and organizing critical data for human decision-makers. One of their key roles is to capture vital information, such as emerging enemy targets, in a matter of seconds. This capability significantly shortens the sensor-to-shooter loop, enabling a faster and more effective response to threats on the battlefield.

Vertical Takeoff Drones: Hunter-Killers of the Sky

Among the micro-drones being integrated with Indian MBTs is a vertical takeoff drone that can launch directly from the tank’s turret. This versatile aerial system is designed to perform a wide range of tasks:

  1. Sensing: It can detect enemy forces, providing real-time data on their location and movements.
  2. Tracking: The drone can track targets with precision, ensuring that critical threats are continuously monitored.
  3. Attack: In a groundbreaking capability, this micro-drone can even be used as an explosive to engage and neutralize enemy targets.
  4. Coordinated Strikes: By utilizing a standard video data link, the drone can work in tandem with attack missiles to destroy identified threats. This seamless coordination enhances the Army’s combat effectiveness.

The integration of AI into micro-drones empowers them to function as autonomous “hunter-killer” systems. They can independently locate and engage targets, freeing up human resources for more strategic tasks. This automation is crucial in high-pressure combat situations, where split-second decisions can be the difference between victory and defeat.

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