SOURCE: SRINIVAS GOWDA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Recent Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict proved How drones were tremendously effective against armor and artillery and how It has become easier to hunt and kill troops at a fraction of the cost using inexpensive battlefield drones and loitering munitions that came as a rude wakeup call to many Army Commanders and Generals all around the world. Indian Military seems to have shaken up when it faced the first-ever drone attack on its air force station in Jammu by a rudimentarily modified commercial drone that was used to drop IEDs near hangars to cause damage to air assets deployed there.
Since then Indian Air Force and Indian Army along with the Indian Navy have placed orders for the anti-drone system both with soft and hard kill capabilities that are been deployed at various sensitive military installations near border areas. Indian Army also has started investment in the procurement of battlefield drones from Indian companies thus also strengthening the offensive firepower of the troops for any possible future conflicts.
Bengaluru-based startup Newspace Research & Technologies is leading the charge and recently bagged a $15 million contract to supply 100 swarm drones that already has been demonstrated by the Indian Army. Newspace is emerging as one of the premier drone startup that is already working on multiple battlefield drones that includes CATS Warrior, an autonomous wingman drone, CATS Air-Launched Flexible Assets (ALFA) a swarming drone system, CATS Hunter, an Air launched Stand-Off Cruise Missile, CATS Infinity, an ultra high altitude solar-electric surveillance and communication drone with State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Newspace that was founded in 2017, already has demonstrated its swarm drone capabilities and in next 4-5 years plans to demonstrate other major drone program it is currently working on at great space. Newspace if successful in its projects might emerge has India’s Lockheed Martin in drone sphere with product portfolio that is difficult to beat and also reduce India’s reliance on foreign imports.
Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd along with its Israeli company Elbit has bagged an order for the supply of 100 units of the SkyStriker Loitering Munition. Alpha-Elsec a joint venture company between both will make them in India through Transfer of Technology agreements. Alpha-Elsec is expected to clinch more orders for bigger drones that are in the offering in the next few months including some that Alpha Design plans to develop based on the Transfer of Technology that has happened from various State-owned defense companies in India.
It is expected that in the next 3-4 years, India will witness high growth potential in the development of both offensive and defensive drone capabilities and both of these start-ups will play a crucial role in enhancing India’s drone warfare capabilities.
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