Navy, BEL ink contract for first indigenous anti-drone system
The Indian Navy on Tuesday signed a contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for India’s first locally made naval anti-drone system (NADS) with both “hard kill” and “soft kill capabilities”, the ministry of defence said in a statement. The deal comes two months after small drones were used to target the Jammu air force station on June 27, the first-ever offensive use of drones to target an Indian military facility.
BEL will sign similar contracts with the army and the Indian Air Force, the statement said.
The anti-drone system will give the military both “soft kill” and “hard kill” options to tackle the new and fast-emerging aerial threat. The first refers to jamming the hostile drone, while the second involves a laser-based kill system. The indigenous anti-drone system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by BEL. The DRDO said its counter-drone technology could provide the armed forces with the capability to swiftly detect, intercept and destroy small drones that pose a security threat.
“The NADS can instantly detect and jam micro drones and use a laser-based kill mechanism to terminate targets. It will be an effective, all-encompassing counter to the increased drone threat to strategic naval installations,” the statement said.
The Jammu drone attack was a watershed in asymmetric warfare and underlined the need for the armed forces to build capabilities to counter the aerial threat, experts previously said.
The system was deployed for VVIP protection duties during Republic Day 2020, the visit of US President Donald Trump to Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, Independence Day 2020, Republic Day 2021 and Independence Day 2021. DRDO demonstrated its counter-drone technology to different security agencies at the Hindon air force station in January 2020 and at the National Security Guard (NSG) campus in Manesar in August 2020 and January 2021.
Both the static and mobile versions of NADS will be supplied to the navy shortly.
DRDO is also ready to transfer technology to private companies to produce the anti-drone system.