AFPA

Anti-drone systems for Armed Forces

 

Modern-day warfare is incomplete without having a discussion of drones. As a vigilant armed force, if we are preparing to attack using drones, we should be able to stop the attack from one of the most powerful drones of enemy countries also. Hence, one of the most important research and development wing of the country DRDO (Defense Research & Development Organization) has designated Bharat Electronics as the lead agency for further development and manufacturing of anti-UAVs or anti-drone systems for the armed forces.

First of all, let us analyze what does anti-drone system means? Simply put, Anti drones’ systems are the systems which are used to detect drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which can cause harm to national properties like an airport, critical infrastructure, large public spaces such as community halls, military installations, and battlefield sites, areas of national interest, etc. Generally, the system has a range of two or three kilometers to pick up the drone by using radars and to jam them. Some developed systems, after locating the drone use laser beams to shoot those.

The recent conflict happened between Azerbaijan & Armenia proved that drones can be the trump card for any country. Initially, Azerbaijan was considered a week player. In the later course of the war, it has emerged victorious and the usage of drones against unprepared and overconfident Armenian security personnel was considered as the main reason. In many previous editions of Defence News SCAN, we have learned various drones used by Indian Armed forces and the drone projects which are in pipeline to make unarmed drones armed so that border of the nation can be secured and if needed can cross the borders.

In this edition, the anti-drone system is in the limelight as it is expected to be used as a part of the security of our Prime Minister. The system can be installed at his residence and can be a part of his car cavalcade. Security from such attacks becomes mandatory as we have seen in recent past, leaders of the various nations, though military, had lost life due to drone attacks. The attack on Iranian Military Leader Suleimani is an example of such an attack.

Not only this, across the International border in Rajasthan, Punjab & Jammu & Kashmir and the Line of Control, various drone sorties were launched for delivering drugs and weapons to revive the militancy in border states. Commercial drones from China are used to carry 10 kg of payloads.

Indian private sector is also actively participating in the development of an anti-drone system. DRDO has developed the system which has been tested on the Line of Control and has been able to successfully repel the aerial threat.

After MiG 21, MiG-29k fighter Aircraft in the limelight due to notorious reasons

 

Indian Navy’s MiG-29k Aircraft flew from the only Aircraft Carrier crashed on Thursday. It is a carrier-borne multi-role aircraft and the mainstay of integral fleet air defense. After MiG 21 Bison, this is the second aircraft from Russia (or USSR) which is in limelight due to notorious reasons.

During the mishap, two pilots were on board. One of them was a qualified flying instructor, Commander Nishant Singh remained missing. The other one, probably a trainee pilot has been rescued. The jet was conducting a sortie from INS Vikramaditya to INS Hansa which is the base of MiG-29Ks.

Flying for MiG29Ks has not been easy since last year November. As it was the third aircraft that crashed in November 2019. An inquiry has been set up by the naval officials to find out the reason behind the accident. The exact cause of the mishap is yet to know. According to some naval sources, there were no warning signs or any indicative signal received or send by the pilots. Search Operation for the missing pilot has begun in which 9 warships and 14 aircraft are deployed.

Accidents:    

MiG29Ks were inducted in 2010 in the Indian Navy. A fleet of 42-45 aircraft was ordered from Russia to fulfill the requirement of the only Aircraft Carrier. Of these, at a time only 24 remain operational and others are kept as war reserves and in other forms.

In November 2019, a trainer MiG-29K aircraft grounded due to engine failure in the South Goa district.

In February this year, a MiG29K crashed away from the habitation near Goa Coast. Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely. It crashed after being hit by birds.

Not only India, but even Russian Forces had also lost its MiG29K which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea due to mechanical failures as it tried to land on its aircraft carrier.

Alarms:

CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General of India) had observed problems relating to the airframe, RD MK-33 engine & fly-by-wire system. Engine performance has been greatly criticized by the CAG as the engine numbers which are rejected or withdrawn from the service since its induction are very high. A total of 65 engines including 23 spare engines had been acquired as of September 2014. Of which 40 engines are rejected due to design-related deficiencies. 

According to aviation experts, such kinds of problems are faced by all operating countries due to the metallurgy of the aircraft.

Way Forward:

This kind of a mishap is baffling as this involved a top-notch pilot. It is a serious matter of concern about what has gone wrong. A proper investigation should be conducted to prevent such loss in the future.

Navy is about to acquire its second aircraft carrier. Though it is not ready anytime soon we have to look forward to a suitable aircraft for it. Aircraft Design, Metallurgy, engine technology, etc are the crucial issues that determine the reliability and availability of aircraft. And to conduct extensive over-sea operations we have to find an aircraft that can be deployed on a second indigenous aircraft carrier which is to be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited.