Anti Drone System

Unnecessary drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are detected and intercepted by anti-drone devices. Airports, key infrastructure, big public locations such as stadiums, and military sites and battlefields are all places where they are placed.

The escalating use of unmanned drones by terror organisations to target, drop, and supply guns, explosives, and munitions over India’s western borders, notably in Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab, has generated security worries. As a result, the DRDO created the anti drone technology to combat these attacks.

The topic has a high probability of being asked as a Current Affairs Question and as Science and Technology Questions in IAS Prelims and Mains.

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What are Drones?

Drones are flying vehicles which are also popularly known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). There are majorly three types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles namely:

  1. Model Aircraft
  2. Autonomous Aircraft
  3. Remotely Controlled Aircraft

The remote pilot stations, the requisite command and control connections, and any additional components stipulated in the type design, make up a remotely piloted aircraft.

Drones are employed for a variety of applications other than warfare, including but not limited to package delivery, agricultural (spraying insecticides, etc.), environmental monitoring, aerial photography, and search and rescue missions, among others.

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DRDO’s Anti Drone System

To counter hostile drone strikes, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has devised an anti drone system. This indigeneous technology has the ability of:

  • Detection and counter attacks.
  • Soft Kill (to jam the communication channels and instruments of the drone)
  • Hard Kill (laser enabled hard kill to destroy the drone)

Armed forces and other domestic security organisations have already seen the technology in action. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has received the indigenous DRDO Counter Drone Technology. Simultaneously, additional firms are being given the Transfer of Technology (ToT) of the Anti Drone System.

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Features of DRDO Anti Drone System

  • The system is able to detect and jam micro drones from a distance of up to 3 kilometres, and utilise a laser to knock down a target from a distance of up to 1 – 2.5 kilometres, depending on the laser weapon’s wattage. It has a four kilometre radar detection range, a two kilometre jamming range, and a one kilometre kill range.
  • The system is able to detect and eliminate drone threats in real time. It is capable of detecting and destroying drones in the air.
  • It is capable of effectively countering rising drone based activities in India’s western and northern regions.
  • This anti drone system includes a radar with 360 degree coverage that can detect micro drones up to 4 kilometres away, as well as an electro optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensor that detects micro drones up to 2 kilometres away in a specific direction. When these sensors are combined with machine vision and AI algorithms, the risk of fake positives and negatives is reduced.

Note: IAS exam could ask basic details about this topic as it has been in the news recently.

Drone Regulation Rules in India

  • Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020: It contains a set of rules issued by India’s union government to regulate the production, import, commerce, ownership, creation of drone ports (airports for drones), and operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It also aims to establish a framework for corporations to deploy drones.
  • National Counter Rogue Drones Guidelines 2019: Depending on the criticality of the assets to be secured, the rules offered a variety of counter-rogue drone techniques. The rules required the deployment of a model consisting of primary and passive detection means such as radar, Radio Frequency (RF) detectors, electro optical, and infrared cameras in places of crucial national interest. Soft and hard kill measures such as RF jammers, GPS spoofers, lasers, and drone catching nets also were proposed to be installed.

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