India tests UAV for anti-Naxal operations

Last Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010 - 19:24

Kanker (Chhattisgarh): Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles, used by US forces to track down Taliban militants,
successfully flew over the dense forests of Bastar in the
first trial run for anti-Naxal operations.

The trials, which assumed urgency after the Dantewada
massacre in which 76 security personnel were killed by
Maoists, were aimed at generating real-time intelligence
information to help ground forces in any offensive. The first
trial involved an American UAV.

The decision to have UAV flights was taken by the Union
Home Ministry after the April six attack and their field
trials were ordered immediately.

An UAV of US` Honeywell, whose pilotless planes are
reportedly used successfully by allied forces in the hunt for
targets in war-hit Afghanistan and Iraq, flew during the night

The compact UAV, weighing nearly 10 kgs, was put
through the rugged terrains of the hills overlooking Kanker
after its take off from Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare
College here.

The trials which commenced yesterday and continued till
the wee hours of this morning was witnessed by officials not
only from Chattisgarh and the Union Home Ministry, but also
by police officials of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar,
Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Cruising over the hills, the UAV was checked for
providing thermal images of any movement on the ground,
detection of Improvised Explosive Devices(IED) and
ammunition dumps.

The UAV known as T-MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) is a compact
machine manufactured by `Honeywell`. The company, during its
briefing for officials, claimed that its deployment and
stowing operations can be accomplished in less than five

This UAV was selected first for field trials as it has
been claimed that it has been useful to the US forces in
tracking down Taliban militants in high mountain passes and
dense Waziristan area of Pakistan.

The UAVs are urgently required as the forces engaged in
anti-Naxal operations need real-time information to
achieve greater success.

It can go up to a height of 10,000 feet, fly at a speed
of 70 kms per hour and can provide 240 minutes of sensor
imagery to the ground station. The night-long trials also saw
its use in detecting people in pitch dark and dense forests.

In certain cases of mine detection, the UAV could not
pick up signals properly and only showed some disturbance on
the surface.

A UAV of Defence Research and Development Organisation,
which has claimed to have a similar product, may be tried
soon. However, its UAV trials two years back had not got the
desired results.

With intelligence gathering still a problem in Naxal
areas, the UAVs are expected to help in gathering advanced
reconnaissance and situational awareness functions would be
critical in protection of security personnel.


First Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010 - 19:24

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