India: over 400 drones wanted by the army
Over the next decade, the Indian armed forces intend to procure over 400 drones, including combat and submarine-launched remotely piloted aircraft, as well as directed energy weapons (DEWs) like high-energy lasers and high-powered microwaves capable of destroying enemy targets and even satellites.
"Harop" drone made by IAI (Picture source: IAI)
The Defence ministry's new "Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap - 2018" has provided the industry with an overview of the country's offensive and defensive military requirements wanted up to the late 2020s. The 82-page document explains that this roadmap may guide the industry in planning or initiating technology development, partnerships and production arrangements. While pursuing any development or collaboration, the Indian industry should accord due importance to the government's thrust towards 'Made in India'.
The document focuses namely on a wide variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) needed by the armed forces. Drones are major force-multipliers in warfare for real-time surveillance as well as hitting high-value enemy targets. The armed forces currently operate over 200 drones, the bulk of them imported from Israel for long-range surveillance and precision-targeting. They also have some Israeli Aerospace Industries Harop (Harpy) drones.
The roadmap says the Army and Navy will need more than 30 combat remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA). "The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) combat RPA should have the capability to fly up to 30,000-feet altitude, with extended satellite communication ranges and endurance of more than 24 hours," says the document. The drones should be capable of firing missiles at land and maritime targets from over 20-km away.