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UAV project for Naxal areas fails to take off

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

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.


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