UAV project for Naxal areas fails to take off
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Last Updated: Monday, July 26, 2010, 20:15
  
New Delhi: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) seem to have failed to take off in Chhattisgarh, worst-hit by Maoists violence, as the state government wants to re-test the pilotless planes after the monsoon rains which will make the jungles dense.

The state government and the Centre had carried out a test of a UAV manufactured by an American company which was used by the US troops to track down Taliban militants. It had successfully flown over over the dense forests of Bastar in the first trial run for anti-naxal operations.

The trial was witnessed by officials not only from Chhattisgarh and the Union Home Ministry, but also by police officials of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, all hit by Maoist violence.

The use of UAVs had assumed urgency after the Dantewada massacre in which 76 security personnel were killed by Naxals in April this year. It was aimed at generating real-time intelligence information to help ground forces in any offensive.

The decision to have UAV flights was taken by the Union Home Ministry immediately after the ultras enticed a CRPF team into a trap and butchered 76 personnel in two separate ambushes deep in the jungles.

The state government wanted some more field trials besides checking the efficacy of the machine after the monsoon rains so that the jungles were dense enough to check its compatibility, official sources said.

However, the Centre's representative had felt that the machine could be put in use immediately as they could get the real time intelligence, they said.

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.

A UAV of US' Honeywell, whose pilotless planes are used successfully by Allied Forces in the hunt for targets in war-hit Afghanistan and Iraq, was flown during night trial.

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

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 -- T-MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) -- is a compact machine manufactured by 'Honeywell'. The company, during its briefing for officials, had claimed that its deployment and operations can be accomplished in less than five minutes.

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

PTI


First Published: Monday, July 26, 2010, 20:15


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