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These drones have been used by the Indian Navy. They belong to the HALE (high altitude long endurance drones) group. As a result, we came to the realisation that these drones are necessary for greater surveillance and increased marine domain awareness, according to the Navy Chief.

“So we leased two of these starting in November 2020. And we have been running it ever since,” he said in an interview with ANI.

He claimed that because it can keep vast areas under coverage, the forces have come to understand the advantages and benefits it offers them.

In the Indian Ocean, “you have to go 2,500 to 3,000 miles for various requirements, like to know who is operating in these waters, why they are there, and what are they doing there.”

When there is a crisis or there is combat, for example, it may be possible to use these drones for detecting, tracking, and targeting as well, the Navy chief said, highlighting the strike capabilities of the drones. In peacetime, we conduct ISR missions, which stands for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

The Navy leader gave a detailed explanation of the drones’ capabilities. He pointed to a map and stated, “If you just look at this map here, it’s a very large area. You have to keep that area under surveillance for various requirements, you almost have to go as far as 2500 to 3,000 miles.”

He claimed that the drone makes it easier to identify everyone who is present in the Indian Navy’s area of interest.

The Predator unmanned system, according to him, has a long endurance range of roughly 33 hours. As opposed to satellites, it may stay in the air and reach remote ocean regions as well as sites you want to keep constantly under observation.

The Admiral claimed that the technology for these HALE UAVs is not yet available. They can fly above 40,000 feet and are in the high-end category due to their endurance and altitude capabilities.

Therefore, I believe that by introducing these, the first 10 will arrive, be built in the US, and come here. The advantage of being able to transfer various technologies in terms of radar processing, sensor fusion, then some of the composite materials that are part of the aircraft, then titanium alloy castings for the undercarriage and so many others, payload integration of the weapons, will be given to us because the rest will be built here, he said.

According to him, “it will create an entire ecosystem and facilitate India’s transformation into a global hub for innovation in, let’s say, unmanned aerial systems,” as our honourable Prime Minister had intended.

He said that the Navy’s current drone fleet is already assisting the Army and Air Force with reconnaissance.

“And we have utilised it to continue keeping watch on our enemies in the Indian Ocean. It has benefited anti-drug activities. It has been connected to our fleet,” the speaker claimed.

He claimed that the one we currently use has significantly less capability than the ones that will be purchased soon.

Therefore, they will have better payloads and more payloads whenever we procure. It will be equipped with a laser, synthetic aperture radar, ELINT (Electronic Intelligence), COMINT (Communication Intelligence), and toughened, as well as collision avoidance technologies and the ability to control many unmanned aerial vehicles in the same domain.

He claimed that the agreement will offer “a lot of benefits, and that will really be a capability boost for us.”


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