Hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will soon be deployed in Naxal-hit zones of the country to provide security forces a close range surveillance of the ground terrain.
Initially, two mini UAVs are proposed to be deployed in Chhattisgarh and a border-area of Jharkhand to gather ground information for security forces before they embark on anti-Naxal operations and launch planned offensives.
A proposal in this regard was recently submitted to the home ministry by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has deployed close to 70,000 troops for counter-Naxal operations.
Officials involved in the trials and testing of these machines, aimed to gather advanced reconnaissance and situational awareness functions, said the technical wing of the CRPF recently flew such an in-house developed machine over Chandigarh.
"The results were encouraging. Hence UAVs of Skylark make which can be launched by hand are being chosen to be deployed in Naxal-affected areas," a senior officer said.
The mini UAVs can be quickly assembled before the mission and are recovered by landing the vehicle on a small inflatable cushion. The UAV is armed with gadgets to capture images and can carry payload to fly for almost three hours.
The UAV has been used by Nato forces in various missions to ensure security of their camps from ambush and fire attacks, the officer said.
The entire mission of this mini UAV is flown independently and it feeds real-time video and other geographical data to the portable ground station.
Security forces have been scouting for UAVs after 76 security personnel were killed in a deadly Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district last year.
Security agencies have been trying different variants of UAVs for Naxal-hit areas, dotted by thick foliage, to track the movement of the ultras and get correct information about the terrain they operate in.
The Central government has deployed ITBP and BSF apart from the CRPF for anti-Naxal operations in the affected states along with state police forces and other special units.