(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times)
India is likely to make a decision soon on the deployment of anti-drone technology at military installations across the country, reported HT’s sister publication Hindustan reported on Tuesday, adding that the armed forces are already carrying out drills with the Israeli anti-drone SMASH 2000 Plus systems which may be procured on an immediate basis. The development comes in the wake of a first-of-its-kind drone attack in the country earlier on Sunday, where unmanned aerial vehicles were used to drop two bombs at an Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Jammu airport, injuring two IAF personnel.
Over 300 drones and unidentified flying objects have been sighted along the sensitive border with Pakistan after the August 5, 2019 abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, central security agencies said. However, the armed forces are not suitably equipped with technology to tackle these new lethal sky-floaters, intelligence sources warned.
Suspected drone activity was also seen late last night at Kunjwani in the Ratnuchak area of Jammu, news agency ANI reported on Tuesday morning, citing people familiar with the development. Meanwhile, the Union ministry of home affairs has handed over the investigation of the Jammu drone attack case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the news agency reported on this day.
According to defense sources cited by Hindustan, the Israeli anti-drone SMASH 2000 Plus systems are fitted on a rifle and can target drones flying at high speeds. The Indian Navy has already started the process of procuring these defense systems, while the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force might take these up soon as well. Drones are often difficult to catch on the radar because they fly at low altitudes; in such cases, security personnel can only rely on a manual approach in spotting these drones and bringing them down when they get close.
The SMASH 2000 Plus anti-drone systems can be retrofitted onto an AK-47 or any other rifle of a similar make. The device can detect drones and other small flying objects, not just during the day but also at night, said people in the know. Moreover, it was said that the defence ministry was already mulling over the installation of these anti-drone systems at major military stations, but after the Jammu attack, the government can make a decision soon in this regard. Additionally, the ministry has separately empowered army chiefs to procure items of immediate need, the report added.