September 6, 2021

Counter Drone Systems: An Opportunity for Self-Reliance

Written By: Gp Capt RK Narang

India’s Jammu airbase was subjected to two explosions at 1.27 AM and 1.32 AM on June 27, 2021 that were caused by two armed drones.[i] The incident is being investigated by Indian security agencies to ascertain motive, plot and players behind the attack. Simultaneously, induction of counter-drone systems to prepare for such attacks in future is being pursued. Some questions which have come up post the attack are:

  • Why have small armed drones become a new challenge?
  • Should India ban drone operations?
  • Does India have counter drone capability?
  • What should India do to build indigenous counter drone capability?

Small Armed Drones: An Evolving Threat

India has witnessed increased rogue drone activity along its Western border with Pakistan in recent years. However, armed attack on a military installation has occurred for the first time, increasing the sub-conventional threat level. Today, advances made in the filed of artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, weapons systems and navigation technologies have increased accuracy, lethality and effectiveness of small armed drones, enabling them to operate intelligently and undertake complex missions individually, collaboratively and as swarms. The impact of these technologies was demonstrated in the employment of drone swarms by the Israeli military in combat operations against Palestinian Hamas fighters for the first time in May 2021.[ii] China too has developed armed Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) swarms, which presents a challenge for India.

Air Defence systems across the world have been geared to countering the threat posed by large and fast-moving flying machines and not for detecting small, slow and low flying drones. The small size, extensive use of carbon composites, plastics, low radar signatures and insignificant noise levels of electric motors make it difficult for the existing air defence system to detect and neutralise small drones. These limitations came to the fore when drones were used in an attempted assassination attempt on the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro in 2018. Drones were also used to attack Russian air bases in Syria in 2018, the Aramco oil facility of Saudi Arabia in 2019 and the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict in 2020. Despite the attack on the Saudi oil facility in 2019, the Saudi’s were unable to prevent another attack by drones on King Khalid International Airport in 2021, despite possessing an advanced air defence network.[iii] Neither could Russia prevent drone attacks in Syria despite being one of the largest defence equipment manufacturers.

India has a comprehensive Air Defence network, but its ability to detect small, slow, low flying drones is under development. This capability was however showcased at the Aero-India-2021 exhibition in Bangalore. The systems are undergoing operational and validation trials and are yet to be inducted into the field force. The parallel evolution of drone and counter drone technologies makes the threat of small rogue armed drones an evolving one that would require continuous and urgent research, development, and up-gradation of counter drone technologies.

Ban Versus Enabling Policy

The mere introduction of regulations is unlikely to deter an adversary or radicalised non-state actors from employing rogue drones. The Jammu drone attack could not be prevented despite promulgation of stringent UAS Rules on March 12, 2021. It may however be necessary to place certain restrictions in sensitive areas to identify potential threats. Also, defence forces must have the right to shoot down drones that violate red zones and operate over prohibited areas.

As a follow up to review of UAS Rules-2021, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) released draft drone rules-2021 on July 15, 2021[iv] to replace UAS Rules-2021. This indicates the sensitivity of the political leadership in providing an enabling environment to the drone sector. It also indicates the inability of senior leadership in MOCA in addressing concerns of the domestic industry. There are 20,600 registered drone users while number of unregistered users is much higher and unmapped.[v] However, there is a need to be cautious here as often liberalisation of rules without careful deliberations helps importers and assemblers more than domestic manufacturers.

Counter Drone Technologies

Counter drone technologies are premised on detection of drones and their subsequent neutralisation, though both hardball and soft kill options.

  • Small, slow, low flying drones can e detected by short range radar, Electro-Optic (EO), Infra-Red (IR) and acoustic detection systems. Radar has the potential to provide non-cooperative detection capability without the active support of target drones. The Radio Frequency (RF) systems provide detection at relatively shorter ranges but are effective only if rogue drone is emitting RF signal. The EO and IR systems are passive detection systems that provide visual detection by day and night respectively but they have lesser ranges than RF systems and radar. The EO/IR sensors are useful for revalidation (secondary validation) of the threat, followed by terminal tracking and launching of counter measures. Lastly, acoustic systems use acoustic signatures to detect small drones at close ranges but are effective if there is no conflicting noise in the vicinity and noise profile of the rogue drone is recorded in the library of the detection system.
  • Neutralisation. Drone neutralisation systems can broadly be divided into ‘soft kill’ and ‘hard kill’ systems. The former involves neutralisation of sensors, control and navigation systems through jamming, spoofing, or making rogue drones land away from their intended target, sending them back, or capturing them. This is achieved by jamming and spoofing Global Positioning Systems (GPS), jamming their radio frequencies (that are used by drone operators for controlling the drones), and for jamming or spoofing of internal communication of drone swarms. The jammers can be ground based as well as placed on airborne platforms. However, jamming has some inherent disadvantages as it may jam own drones and other users in that area. Therefore, power of jammer and intended areas of jamming have to be clearly defined.[vi] The hard kill systems being developed include lasers, microwave systems and physical destruction by guns, missiles, or suicide drones. Today, most counter drone systems being developed are hybrid systems comprising multiple detection and neutralisation systems. These include combinations of radar, RF, EO/ IR detection systems; lasers, RF jammers, drone nets, guns, suicide drones, defender drone swarms and other neutralisation systems that are integrated into one system. Such systems require automation for critical decision making in real time, though human interface would also be required to prevent counter drone systems from being duped with newer innovations.

Airborne Counter Drone Systems

Small armed drones, individually or in collaboration may outsmart a flying platform and overcome speed disadvantage by concealing their approach and intelligent routing by using artificial intelligence. On the other hand, slow moving manoeuvrable flying platforms like helicopters and trainer aircraft, when equipped with suitable counter drone systems would be able to defend themselves when airborne, as well as provide airborne protection during national and international events and other contingencies.

As of now, most aircraft systems are not suited to take on small, slow and low flying drones. India had armed Cheetah helicopters with guns and three 70 mm rockets and named it Lancer. However, these helicopters did not have detection systems to detect rogue drones.[vii] While India is currently developing a number of land-based hybrid counter drone systems, there is no known project to develop airborne counter drone system. As such systems are being developed globally, India too needs to start such programmes, else it be left behind and be forced to import the same.

Air Defence

The responsibility for Air Defence (AD) rests with the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Army and Navy have certain embedded operational AD capability for protection during operations. The air threat in the past was posed by fast and large flying machines, whose detection distance varied from hundreds of kilometres to tens of kilometres. However, threat posed by small, slow, low flying drones has reduced detection distances to below tens of kilometres, which makes it impossible for the IAF to provide air defence against such threats in all parts of the country.

Besides hard and soft kill options discussed earlier, the drone threat can be mitigated through effective intelligence operations to apprehend the operator, which would prevent the drone from getting airborne. Therefore, police (of various states and union territories), para-military forces and other agencies involved in providing security to VAs and VPs would become new players in the AD network. Also, there may be a requirement to formulate simple but digitised mechanism to track legal drones without becoming unduly intrusive for the industry.

The new counter drone systems would need to be integrated with existing Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) of the IAF. On the other hand, legacy air defence systems of sister Services may need to be modified to integrate new counter drone systems. In addition, integration of police, CAPF, PMF and other forces protecting VAs and VPs in the air defence network also needs to be examined. Accordingly, protocols for operations, SOPs, training patterns, etc. would need to be formulated. The synergy and integration between existing air defence network and new players would become another key pillar of counter drone eco-system. However, an AD network comprising multiple security organisations with diverse cultures, training, and operations philosophies would pose new challenges, which would have to be overcome.

Counter drone technologies can mitigate a threat but cannot eliminate it. There would be a need to impose deterrence against potential users of such systems. This would require political resolve and developing offensive capability.[viii]

Procurement Versus Development Dilemma

The existing approach of procuring best products and stipulating tight timelines for induction of defence equipment are two major reasons for struggle of Indian industry in replacing foreign OEMs. Indian manufacturers lack infrastructure, scale of manufacturing and funding to compete with big players and their products do not match up to what is available across the world. But if we continue with imports, then the defence industry will never grow, making us continually dependent on foreign powers. Obviously, a strategy is needed to get out of this impasse. With respect to the manufacture of counter drone systems, the following questions need to be answered:

  • Can Indian companies provide counter drone solutions?
  • What is the role of stakeholders in the government and users in facilitating development of indigenous capability?

The status of indigenous capability in counter drone technologies, role of users and large industrial entities, factors contributing to failure of domestic industry and way forward to make India self-reliant is discussed below.

Indigenous Capability

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with private and public sector entities has developed a D-4 hybrid counter drone system comprising both hard and soft kill systems. Its detection systems comprise radar providing 360 degrees detection up to 4 km, RF system up to 3 km and Electro Optic/Infra-Red system up to 2 km, while its neutralisation systems comprise of RF/ Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) jammer having a range of 3 km and laser for physical destruction of rogue drones up to a range of 1 km. DRDO demonstrated its system to National Security Guard (NSG) as well as deployed it on VVIP protection duties in the last one year. However, there was a lack of participation in the development of the above by the user agencies, namely the defence forces.[ix] This lacuna needs to be plugged.

DRDO has taken BEL as the production partner and would benefit from its expertise. On its part, BEL has collaborated with Grene Robotics to jointly develop AI based autonomous Operating System (OS), which is named as air defence dome.[x] Grene Robotics OS is an AI based platform that would provide air defence cover through a unified, distributed, wide area coverage system named as “Indrajal”. It integrates radars, EO/IR, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), jammers and third-party weapon systems and enables local and networked command and control operations with autonomous counter drone capability. However, companies like Grene Robotics are small companies that need handholding by large private and public sector companies to improve manufacturing quality and scale up production for large orders.[xi] It would invigorate the defence sector if such hand holding takes place for niche technologies being provided by small companies and new start ups. Some of the startups which have excelled are Big Bang Boom Solutions, which has developed Anti-Drone Defence System that comprises RF and EO detectors and RF jammer,[xii] the Gurutvaa Systems Private Limited, which has developed a spoof emitter and a hand held jammer which can carried in backpack as well as installed on a vehicle,[xiii] Zen Technologies Private Limited, whose counter drone system is evolving into a multiple sensor system comprising three detection systems[xiv] and Mikrobotix, which manufactures micro and small drones that carry variety of payloads, and has indigenously developed a suicide quad copter drone using cameras and artificial intelligence for counter drone role.[xv] There are other small players too in this field such as VEM Technologies, Timetooth Technologies and EDITH Defence systems, which indicates a bright future for domestic manufacturing.[xvi]

The bigger names in the Indian defence sector are also showing an interest in drone and counter drone technologies. Towards this end, L&T has tied up with ideaForge[xvii], while Reliance Industries has acquired majority stake in Indian drone start up Asteria Aerospace.[xviii] Adani Defence and aerospace[xix] has collaborated with Elbit systems of Israel to manufacture drones and sell its counter drone system in India. Similarly, Jugapro,[xx] a company known for selling hanger doors, has collaborated with the US startup company Fortem Technologies to sell its counter drone systems. However, in the counter drone domain, the investment of big companies in research and development of counter drone technologies has been negligible, which needs to change.

The DRDO has developed 1-kW, 10-kW and 20-kW laser weapons, while Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed high power purse electron accelerator kilo ampere linear injector (KALI-5000) capable of generating 650 keV energy with electron beam power of 40 GW. It has also developed microwave systems having a frequency range of 3-5 GHz and power of 1-2 GW.[xxi] The challenge for Indian developers would be in miniaturisation these systems for ease of transportation on ground and carriage by aircraft to develop airborne counter drone systems.

Why Domestic Industry Fails?

As stated earlier, India’s public and private defence sector is caught in a bind. The defence requirements are immediate while indigenous production capacity is constrained in terms of levels of R&D and inability to produce equipment of matching capability in the available time. The foreign OEM thus bags the order, which in turn adversely impacts the domestic innovators who have been involved in research, design, development and manufacturing of counter drone systems. It is thus a make-or-break situation for the Indian industry and innovators who are mostly start-ups & MSMEs. A few of them have proven their capability by winning technological challenges presented by defence forces through iDEX, Technology Development Fund (TDF) and Mehar Baba competition. However, survival of domestic innovators and manufacturers depends upon the orders received from defence forces, their only customer; otherwise, they would disappear from Indian drone and counter drone manufacturing landscape.

Indian innovators struggle to compete with leading global manufacturers when users and policy makers from defence place large orders with tight timelines for supply. The aspiration for acquiring the best by the defence forces is well understood, but it hurts the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission. In addition, the introduction of seemingly liberal provisions in the policy that open up business (import) and simplify compliance on the pretext of competition, suits import and foreign OEMs. Foreign OEMs export in large numbers and sell them in India at cheap rates till indigenous products become uneconomical and indigenous manufacturers close their business.

Against these Qualitative Requirements, most Indian companies do not qualify, despite having some of the cutting-edge technologies and capabilities. As a result, foreign OEMs win tenders in a seemingly fair way. This is how domestic industry and innovators, despite being promising, fail to survive due to lack of support system in India and absence of handholding culture. On the other hand, Global OEMs win the contract and acquire Intellectual Property Rights of promising Indian innovators. This is an example of how not to support domestic industry, which needs to change.

A case study of the aviation industry in this regard is instructive. HAL had developed the HF-24 Marut fighter-bomber aircraft in the 1960s. It was the first Indian-developed jet aircraft, but its production was shelved in favour of assembling the Soviet Union made MiG-21 fighter jets in India. This made India dependent on the latter. As a result, capability of HAL in due course was downgraded from high value design and development establishment to a low value assembly company. It took India almost five decades to correct this anomaly when Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) came into being. LCA was the outcome of indigenous effort and not foreign coproduction collaboration. Therefore, any attempt to acquire large number of counter-drone systems, including through Make in India, would have an adverse impact on domestic counter drone industry. We therefore need to keep India’s long-term interests in mind in our procurement policy.

Building Indigenous Counter Drone Capability

We need an enabling environment to keep talent in India. Many Indians have excelled abroad, such as Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Sunder Pichai of Google, but even so, India’s Information Technology (IT) and auto industry have not yet become design and development hubs of the world and have remained relatively low value service industries. India is yet to have its own versions of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as also cars with global presence. We therefore need to focus on developing indigenous technological capabilities by providing an enabling ecosystem to domestic industry and creating preferential mechanism for inducting domestic products.

India’s former President, Late Shri APJ Abdul Kalam warned that Make in India is “Quite Ambitious” and that it has to be ensured that India does not become the low-cost, low-value assembly line of the World.[xxii] Today, India is at a critical juncture where it needs to induct large number of counter drone systems for multiple security agencies. It would be prudent to take into account the above caution of our former President, while formulating strategy for building this capability.

Ground Systems. Indian public and private sector companies have developed a number of detection and neutralisation systems; however, these systems individually are not holistic systems and do not provide assured detection and neutralisation. A few manufacturers collaborated with fellow manufacturers by leveraging their respective strengths to develop hybrid counter-drone systems; however, some gaps still exist. Also, counter drone systems required for static army and air force formations would be different from those required to protect moving convoys and ships. Protection of ships that are continuously rolling and pitching when docked as well as while moving over open seas would be an entirely different challenge and would require gyro-stabilisation as well as modifications in software and hardware. The civil aviation and other security agencies would prefer armed rogue drones to be captured or escorted to safe locations so that they do not pose threat to airport, aircraft, passengers, VAs and VPs. Lastly, while developing countermeasures against small drones, designers need to consider that loitering munitions, and other manned and unmanned aircraft would also be operating within the same airspace. Therefore, counter drone systems should not only be able to counter small rogue drones but also integrate with air defence systems and provide seamless defence against all air threats, without disrupting normal peace time air operations.[xxiii]

Airborne Counter Drone Systems. These systems would provide much needed mobility and enhance range and effectiveness of counter capability. The airborne counter drone platform could be another drone, helicopter or an aircraft. Smart air defence drone with necessary detection and neutralisation sensors would be the best choice to counter rogue small drones. Therefore, it would be prudent to equip helicopters and other aircraft with counter drone capability to protect them from drone attacks as well as to neutralise rogue drones. Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) and Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) are three potential platforms that could be equipped with counter drone systems. They are ideally suited to undertake counter drone tasks during national and international events and in specific threat scenarios due to their slow speed handling characteristics, high manoeuvrability, ability to launch quickly and adequate payload carrying capability.

Indian industry has adequate potential to produce drone and counter drone systems in India. However, their expertise is dispersed as they are developing different elements of counter drone systems in silos, which need to be integrated. To build a holistic counter-drone system, there is a need to integrate multiple detection and neutralisation systems developed by different public and private sector companies, which can be achieved by leveraging following technology development programs:

  • iDEX conducted by Defence Innovation Organisation has open competition, Defence Innovation Start up Challenge (DISC) and iDEX 4 fauji. Industry, individual innovators, academia and R&D institutions have opportunity to participate in each of these competitions where grants up to 50% of project cost with maximum up to Rs 1.5 crore are given.[xxiv]
  • DRDO provides funding under Technology Development Fund (TDF) for self-reliance in defence technologies covering up to 90% of the project cost and a development period of two years.[xxv]
  • Department of Science and Technology (DST)’s Device Development Program (DDP) provides funding for indigenous development and manufacturing of devices and has identified drones and anti-drone devices as key areas for development in 2020.[xxvi]
  • Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), a Public Private Partnership (PPP) program, provides funding up to 50 % of expenditure on R&D for new technology / products in partnership with industries from Canada, Israel, Korea, Italy, Spain, Sweden for delivering marketable products and services to Indian and global markets.[xxvii]

Mehar Baba and iDEX competitions are conducted by IAF and DIO respectively. Mehar Baba provides larger funding while iDEX not only provides lower funding but also requires equal share of funding by the participants. Mehar Baba competition provides equal opportunity to DRDO, Defence Public Sector Units (DPSU)s, academia, individual innovators and private sector entities to develop urgently needed as well as niche technologies while in iDEX, DRDO & DPSUs do not participate. These competitions facilitate transformation of an idea into a product and induction into defence forces if found suitable. This is exactly what is needed in India.[xxviii] However, these competitions, despite their promise, have following limitations:

  • The quantity and timelines for procurement of product from winners of iDEX and Mehar Baba competitions are not defined, which is a major limitation. As a result, transformation of innovative prototype into finished products and commercialisation is hampered. The winners of these competitions are unable to cope with the huge cost of development and delay in lack of procurement by their only buyer, i.e. the military.
  • The funding provided by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) under iDEX is limited to 50% of the project cost with an upper limit of Rs 1.5 crore. Also, iDEX and Mehar Baba participants are expected to produce quality equivalent to global OEMs like Raytheon, Elbit, etc., who get much higher funding from their respective militaries, DARPA, Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) and equivalent organisations. Development of some of the high technology defence equipment requires much higher funding and current limit is inadequate to support development of high cost defence technologies.

Mehar Baba Competition was launched in 2018; however, launch of second edition is still awaited. Whether it was lack of leadership, ownership, foresight or absence of follow-on plan, an end to Mehar Baba Competition, one of the most progressive innovation projects of India, would be a tragedy for defence innovation in India.

In a welcome development, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in partnership with Border Security Force, launched BSF High Tech Undertaking for Maximising Innovation (BHUMI) Grand Challenge on July 02, 2021, to identify impactful solutions from startups to address three problem statements, out of which one of them relates to development of Anti Drone Technology.[xxix] This is the first time BSF is leading the development of innovative technologies, which is a good beginning and it should be transformed into an annual challenge with certain procurement assurance to develop niche technologies indigenously.

Individual and uncoordinated development, trials and procurement by defence Services, their field formations, CAPFs, BCAS (MOCA), NSG and other security forces provides opportunity to foreign OEMs and their Indian supplier to sell their products by out-manoeuvring domestic manufacturers, which needs to be corrected.

The key challenge to capability building in India is lack of involvement of users in the development projects as partners. The defence forces of leading defence-manufacturing nations not only provide funding for research projects but also involve their personnel in technology development with their industry as owners. The gaps between expectations of users and systems developed by Indian public and private sector entities becomes a major limitation when competing against leading global OEMs, who fine tune their systems while working closely with their defence forces.

Indian counter-drone industry led by small startups, individual innovators and MSMEs lacks capability to scale up production and expand business. They would need funding and expertise of big business houses to scale up production and formulate business strategies. The lack of investment by Indian industry provides foreign entities an opportunity to entice bright minds, which leads to brain and technology drain.[xxx] High technology investments can bring disproportionate results as was seen in the case of FLIR, thermal sensor manufacturer of the US, which acquired Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian drone company that had developed black hornet nano drones for $134 million and thereafter became leading supplier of these drones.[xxxi] Indian companies investing in Indian start-ups is thus a win-win situation for both as big industrial houses would gain from their foray into niche high value technologies, while start-ups, individual innovators and MSMEs would obtain much needed funding as well as expertise for scaling up production as well as for making their business and export strategies.

Way Forward

Much can be done to make India self-reliant in the field of counter-drone technology. This is an emerging market which has great potential to boost Indian manufacturing and job creation. As of now, domestic capabilities are dispersed among various public and private sector entities, which if harnessed can address India’s counter drone system requirements. Therefore, the following is recommended:

  • Design bureaus of defence forces, and technical departments of police, security forces and MOCA may launch Mehar Baba or equivalent programs to develop pre-identified variants of counter drone systems with hard and soft kill capabilities that meet specific requirements of air, ground and naval forces, CAPFs, BCAS (MOCA) and other security agencies and facilitate their procurement through a single process. This counter drone system, in consonance with other air defence systems, should provide holistic air defence capability against all air threats.
  • One of the programs, led by technical department of MOCA and MHA, should focus on developing counter drone systems that capture or take the rogue drone to safe locations or escort them out of danger areas in order to protect civil airports, urban population and strategic assets.
  • IAF, IA and HAL should examine technical feasibility of integrating counter drone systems on LUH, LCH & HTT-40 aircraft and initiate their development as counter drone platforms.
  • iDEX and Mehar Baba competitions amount is recommended to be increased to Rs 50 and Rs 200 crore respectively.
  • Enhance funding for development of proof of concept of indigenously designed prototypes emerging out of competitive mechanisms like iDEX and Mehar Baba.
  • Use Problem Definition Statement (PDS) as base to acquire assured quantity of products within a given timeline and give preference for procurement to indigenously designed products under Mehar Baba and iDEX.
  • MoD should launch a challenge to miniaturise and increase efficiency of lasers and adopt them for operations as ground, vehicle based and aircraft-based counter drone systems.
  • Development, miniaturisation and operationalisation of microwave counter drone systems should be given high priority due to swarm threat from adversaries.
  • MoD and MHA should carry out joint assessment of existing air defence system of defence forces and corresponding elements in police, para-military and other forces, gaps in technology, procedures, and training, and prepare a roadmap to fill gaps and correct anomalies.
  • MoD, MHA and MOCA should involve technically qualified personnel from defence, CAPFs, MOCA and other security agencies in the research, design and development teams of indigenous projects undertaken by DRDO, DPSUs, DST, Private Industry and Academia as required.
  • Make Qualitative Requirements (QRs) realistic in Request for Proposals (RFPs); allow liberal delivery time for indigenously designed products and avoid emergency procurements from foreign OEMs. This would help to make India self-reliant.
  • MoD, MOCA and DST, in collaboration with industry, may identify technology and capability gaps in areas such as sensors, motors and other systems (that India is dependent on through import) and indigenise them in a phased manner.
  • Large Indian corporates should invest in R&D as well as handhold promising start-ups, individual innovators and MSMEs for further research, improving quality, scaling up production and export in international market.

Conclusion

By publishing draft drone rules on July 15, 2021, India has shown that it would not be deterred by drone threat to build a domestic drone industry; however, the devil lies in details and understanding the gap between intent and execution.

They many challenges that the counter drone industry faces have ben enumerated in this paper. These challenges need to be addressed on priority. Of special significance is the need to provide an enabling environment for the industry, user interface in the R&D phase, hand holding of the smaller players and framing rules which can push forward, the Prime Ministers directive to make India truly Atmanirbhar.

The threat of small-armed drones is a challenge as well as unique opportunity to harness diverse capabilities available with public and private sector entities to build robust counter drone systems and networks not only for India but also for export to friendly foreign countries. This is an opportunity which India must grasp by addressing administrative, bureaucratic and policy hurdles, and taking ownership of indigenous projects.

Author Brief Bio:

Group Captain Rajiv Kumar Narang VM, was commissioned in the helicopter stream of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in December 1989. He has flown more than 4700 hours over varied terrain comprising Siachen Glacier, mountainous regions of Himalayas, deserts and plains of India. He is a flying supervisor, qualified aircraft accident investigator and an alumnus of the prestigious DefenceServices Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, India. He has served in staff appointments at Air Headquarters and Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS). He was awarded Vayu Sena Medal (VM) for meritorious service in 2000. He has served as Research/ Senior Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) from September 2014 to April 2019.

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[xiii] Grurutvaa https://idex.gov.in/showcase-cpt/458, accessed on

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[xv] Harish Alladi, http://www.mikrobotix.com/productdetails04.html, accessed on August

[xvi] Andhra Pradesh: TTD to Deploy DRDO’s Anti-Drone Systems to protect Tirumala Temple, July 24, 2021, https://swarajyamag.com/insta/andhra-pradesh-ttd-to-deploy-drdos-anti-drone-system-to-protect-tirumala-temple, accessed on August 04, 2021.

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[xviii] Reliance buys majority stake in drone company, Geospatial News, May 06, 2020, https://www.geospatialworld.net/news/reliance-acquires-asteria-aerospace-with-51-78-stake/, accessed on August 01, 2021.

[xix] Adani Defence and Aerospace, https://www.adanidefence.com/unmanned-aerial-systems, accessed on August 01, 2021.

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