Anti-drone jammers show positive results on Indo-Pak border

Mar 02, 2023 07:33 AM IST

The Indian Army is satisfied with the test results of anti-drone jammers and spoofers deployed this year in Jammu and Punjab sector against drug, explosives and wespon carrying drones launched by Pakistan based terror groups.

Tests by the Indian army and intelligence agencies of recently deployed indigenous anti-drone spoofers and jammer systems in Jammu and Punjab border with Pakistan have thrown up satisfactory results, HT learns, adding another layer to India’s abilities to crack down on the use of UAVs by Pakistan-based terror groups to send arms, weapons, even IEDs into the two sensitive areas.

Chinese made drone launched from Pakistan with drugs and explosives consignment brought down by security forces in Jammu sector.
Chinese made drone launched from Pakistan with drugs and explosives consignment brought down by security forces in Jammu sector.

Watch: India's fight against Pak gets massive boost; Army's anti-drone system's trial successful

The army, HT learns, bought 30 spoofer and jammer systems each for the Jammu and Punjab sectors and deployed them on trial along the western border . Over three months, the systems have worked effectively, and prevented UAVs from flying into India from across the border.

A spoofer system sends a wrong signal to a drone and hijack its communication link, while a jammer jams radio frequencies used to operate a drone, bringing the UAVs down. Drones have become popular with terror groups operating in Pakistan, and last year, around 300 were sighted across India’s western front from Rajasthan, through Punjab, to Jammu, a three-fold increase over the number of sightings in 2021.

Given continued attempts by terror groups to stir up trouble in Jammu & Kashmir -- their new playbook involves using local terrorists to target civilians, including migrant workers -- and foment separatist sentiments in Punjab, Indian agencies and the army are keen to crack down on what has emerged a viable channel to transport things across the border. Apart from arms, drones are increasingly being used to smuggle in drugs, particularly heroin and cocaine from Af-Pak region. The army is also concerned with the situation south of Pir Panjal from where Pakistan-based terror groups are sending military grade explosive and rifles into India.

The all weather anti-drone systems tested have a range in excess of 10 km with radar to detect the incoming UAV through electromagnetic waves or radio frequency and then disabling it through either jamming or spoofing. The weapon or drug carrying drones from Pakistan are Chinese-made, and like most UAVs, have two links—one that links up with the satellites for GPS and the other with the handler sitting across the border. A spoofer unhinges the enemy drone by confusing the satellite link and make the incoming UAV lose direction and not land or drop at the designated place. The jammer simply blocks the drone-handler link and forces the enemy drone to crash.

Over the past three years, the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba have been launching explosive-carrying drones from their launch pads in the Sialkot sector to cause mayhem in the Jammu region. While there is very little drone activity north of Pir Panjal, the Pakistani deep state is also targeting Punjab with drones carrying drugs and arms so that separatists can sell drugs (a big problem in the state) to purchase more arms and explosives , and also use the funds to radicalize Sikh youth in the name of religion.

According to South Block officials, the Indian Army has plans to buy more anti-drone systems as well as armed drones to acquire the capability not only to prevent cross-border smuggling but also launch retaliatory strikes.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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