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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

By Dec, forces to get an eye in sky

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 04, 2013
First Published: 01:22 IST(4/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:24 IST(4/3/2013)

By December this year, the security forces will get an eye in the sky to beat the naxal threat as the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) has agreed to shift its ground control station to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

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So far the NTRO was flying the UAVs from Hyderabad that could cover only the lower areas of Chhattisgarh.

For the last one year, the security forces had been demanding the shifting of the UAV base to somewhere in the middle of the naxal theater so that they can be deployed over all Maoist-infested areas in the bordering districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

According to sources, the NTRO has sought time till December to shift the base.

The security forces have been provided around half a dozen unarmed UAVs but only one of them can be flown at a time as there is only ground station to control their flights.

The ground control station is based in Hyderabad. These UAVs are piloted by the air force personnel who have been sent on deputation to the NTRO. The NTRO manages the UAV operations and gathers imagery captured by them

"The UAVs have given us deep insight into the naxal areas. We can plan our movement and check the area with the UAVs before moving in to avoid getting ambushed. So far they have been deployed over the densely forested areas of Chhattisgarh but if the same air surveillance can be provided in the less forested areas of Jharkhand or Orissa, they can be more helpful," said senior security source.


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