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Recent events in the Ukraine conflict have sent ripples through the Indian Navy, prompting a strategic rethink to address the growing threat posed by sea drones. The successful deployment of explosive-laden drones by Ukraine against Russian warships has highlighted the vulnerability of even large vessels to these low-cost, unconventional weapons.

Traditionally, destroyer-type ships have served as protectors against smaller, faster torpedo boats, safeguarding larger vessels like battleships. However, the rise of sea drones challenges this established dynamic. The Indian Navy, along with other major naval forces, is now forced to adapt its strategies to this new and evolving threat.

Sources familiar with the Navy’s plans reveal to a multi-pronged approach being formulated to counter Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). The first line of defence involves outmanoeuvring drones in open waters, leveraging the superior speed and agility of Indian warships.

Beyond manoeuvrability, the Indian Navy boasts a robust arsenal for deterring and eliminating drone threats. This includes advanced radar systems for early detection, alongside surveillance aircraft and helicopters for enhanced situational awareness. Additionally, a layered defence system incorporating machine gun fire and lightweight guns provides a physical countermeasure against approaching drones.

The Indian Navy’s response to the drone threat is likely to be an ongoing process. As threat perceptions evolve, reports that the Navy will continue to test and deploy new tactics in the coming years. This adaptability will be crucial in ensuring the continued safety and effectiveness of India’s naval fleet in the face of this emerging challenge.

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