Our anti-drone technology can stave off threats: DRDO chief
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief G Satheesh Reddy on Tuesday said that the counter-drone technology developed by his organisation could provide the armed forces with the capability to swiftly detect, intercept and destroy small drones that pose a security threat.
He said DRDO’s anti-drone system would 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.
Reddy’s comments came two days after small drones were used to target the Jammu air force station. The June 27 attack was the first-ever offensive use of drones to target an Indian military facility.
DRDO’s counter-drone technology uses a variety of methods to neutralise the danger from such aerial attacks, officials familiar with it said on condition of anonymity.
The officials explained how the system works. The solution consists of a radar system that offers 360-degree coverage with detection of micro drones when they are 4km away, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors for detection of micro drones up to 2 km and a radio frequency (RF) detector to detect RF communication up to 3 km
“The RF/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) jammer can detect the frequency being used by the controller and jam signals from a distance of 3 km. The laser-based hard kill system can neutralise micro drones at distances between 150 m to 1 km. The system is integrated through a command post,” said one of the officials cited above.
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.
“The radar detects micro drones and hands over the track for soft kill and hard kill after due verification by a sensor. Once confirmed by RF detection and verified by EO/IR sensor, the system is ready to jam RF/GNSS signals or use laser weapon as per standard operating procedures,” said a second official.
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 and Republic Day 2021.
“Prototypes for one vehicle-based and one ground-based set up have been prepared and evaluated by DRDO,” the second official added.
DRDO has transferred the technology for the production of the anti-drone system to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and also written letters to the three services informing them about the system’s capabilities, as reported by Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
DRDO is also ready to transfer technology to private companies to produce the anti-drone system.
The Jammu drone attack is a watershed in asymmetric warfare and underlines the need for the armed forces to build capabilities to counter the aerial threat, experts previously said.
Chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday said that India has to start preparing for future generation warfare. He said the three services, DRDO, academia and other stakeholders were working together to develop technology to counter the threat from drones at the earliest.