Drone attackers, spy-proof radio — private players line up hi-tech wares at Army meeting

Ground-based equipment to shoot down drones and unmanned aircraft that can carry loads of up to 50 kg to high-altitude forward posts at heights of 9,000 feet and above — private players turned out a range of equipment Tuesday at a showcase organised by the Army Design Bureau.

The showcase was organised during the Army Commanders’ Conference at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi.

The Army Design Bureau plays an important role in bridging the gap between the consumer (Army), the academia and the industry, and forms the perspective planning branch of the Army. It spearheads the Army’s ‘Make in India’ push.

As many as 40 players from the industry, most of them indigenous, displayed their equipment at the Army commanders’ meet.

The idea of displaying the equipment at the meeting was to allow senior officers of the force to see what the defence industry has to offer. While some of the equipment is in the process of being inducted by the Army, the remaining is in various stages of development.

“Army commanders who have special financial powers to purchase equipment on an emergency basis could take ideas from the display,” a senior Army officer said.

Focus on surveillance equipment

The showcase was dominated by surveillance and intel-gathering equipment, including high-tech radio sets that can secure communications from enemy interception.

The counter-drone equipment displayed targets and shoots down enemy drones, a growing threat in modern warfare with the advent of artificial intelligence. The military currently uses guns and air defence equipment to shoot down rogue drones.

Also on display was “loitering munition”, a slow-moving drone that can act as a missile and hit an enemy target when one is spotted. These drones have to be remotely operated by humans.

Other wares displayed included high-altitude clothing and small arms made by Ordnance Factory Boards.

The aforementioned Army officer said there “was a focus on indigenous equipment… at the display today”.

Push for indigenisation

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has repeatedly pushed for the development of indigenous equipment and weapons.

At the 41st DRDO directors’ conference in Delhi Tuesday, he said India will have to focus on research work to emerge as the global leader in defence technologies.

Speaking at the Army Commanders’ Conference, chief General Bipin Rawat, too, said that India will fight and win the next war with indigenous weapon systems.

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