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Explained: What is an anti-drone system developed by DRDO?

Arfa Javaid

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an anti-drone system to neutralize enemy drone attacks. The indigenous drone technology is capable of counter-attacks including detection, Soft Kill (for jamming the communication links of drone) and Hard Kill (laser-based hard kill to destroy the drone) of enemy Drones. The system is already demonstrated to Armed Services and other internal security agencies.

The indigenous DRDO Counter-Drone Technology is transferred to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). Simultaneously, Transfer of Technology (ToT) of the Counter-Drone System is offered to other companies.

The aforementioned information was shared by the Ministry of Defence in a written reply to Keshari Devi Patel and Kanakmal Katara in Lok Sabha on 28 July 2021. 

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What is an Anti-drone system?

Anti-drone systems detect and or intercept unwanted drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They are deployed to protect areas such as airports, critical infrastructure, large public spaces such as stadiums, and military installations and battlefields.

Need for anti-drone system

Increased use of unmanned drones to target, drop and supply weapons, explosives and ammunition across the western borders by the terror groups to their network in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab has raised security concerns. Therefore, in a bid to counter these attacks, the DRDO has developed the anti-Drone system. 

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Anti-drone system developed by DRDO

1- The system can detect and jam micro drones up to 3 km and use a laser to bring down a target up to 1-2.5 km depending on the wattage of the laser weapon. It has a radar detection range of four kilometres, a jamming range of more than two kilometres and a kill range of more than one kilometre. 

2- The system can identify drone threats instantly and terminate them. It has the capabilities to both detect and destroy drones in the air.

3- It can effectively counter increased drone-based activity in the western and northern sectors of India.

4- The drone system was first deployed to provide security cover to India's Republic Day Parade this year.

5- The system was also deployed during the Modi-Trump roadshow in 2020 in Ahmedabad to thwart any aerial threat from drones.

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How does the anti-drone system developed by DRDO work?

The anti-drone system houses a radar that helps in the 360-degree coverage to detect micro drones up to 4 km and the Electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors that can detect micro drones up to 2 km in a specified direction. These sensors when paired with machine vision and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms lessen the risk of false positives and false negatives. 

EO/IR gimbals for anti-drone systems combine multiple cameras into one payload that can be mounted on a fixed site or moving vehicle.

Acoustic CUAS detection systems compare the noise made by drone propulsion systems to a database of sounds. However, their accuracy can be affected by other noises in the vicinity.

On 29 June 2021, Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting attended by Cabinet Ministers to expedite the process of devising a drone policy for India. It is to be noted that India doesn't have a universal policy to deal with rogue drones.

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