The Army has started taking delivery of its first heterogeneous swarm Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system for use on the battlefield. The delivery may possibly be the world’s first operational high density swarming UAS induction for military applications. The swarming systems were ordered under the emergency procurement (EP) and show that India has taken a global lead with induction of cutting edge technology.
According to ThePrint, the Army has begun receiving its first heterogeneous swarm Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system for use on the battlefield, as a boost to its offensive power.
This delivery could be the world’s first operational high density swarming UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) induction for military applications, especially given that the majority of swarm drone research has yet to be operationalised globally.
The swarm of 100 drones, supplied by Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research & Technologies, is capable of hitting targets at least 50 kilometres out within enemy territory.
According to defence officials, the supply has only recently begun, and it coincides with the start of the country’s military aviation exhibition Aero India.
The swarming systems were ordered under emergency procurement (EP) and demonstrate that India has taken a global lead by introducing cutting-edge ‘Made in India’ technology that is on par, if not ahead, of its peers around the world, according to sources.
They also stated that this is part of the government’s Aatmanirbhar initiative to indigenously develop essential and revolutionary military technologies.
According to sources, these drones can carry specific-weight bombs and can home in on a target, such as moving armoured columns, artillery positions, and infantry shelters, and attack.
They went on to say that swarm drones are the solution for a crowded airspace where individual drones can be shot down.
In the near future, the IAF will also deploy operational swarming UAS.
ThePrint reached out to NewSpace Research’s Business Development head, Col Ramit Arora (Retd). He verified that delivery to users in accordance with contracts placed had recently begun, but he refused to provide any further information.
According to defence sources, the drones sent by NewSpace, as well as a follow-up homogenous swarm drone delivery from Raphe Mphibr in the coming days, will be incorporated into the mechanised forces and utilised for surveillance and attack tasks.
A swarming system is a group of UAVs that work together to complete multiple mission objectives with little human intervention by utilising sophisticated autonomy, processing, communication, and AI protocols.
The UAVs demonstrate self-organizing behaviour, avoid collisions with other UAVs, and avoid obstacles in the landscape.
As Sameer Joshi, the founder of NewSpace, previously wrote for ThePrint, there is no actual leader and follower in a true swarm, with all members having their own’mind’ to undertake collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing within the swarm.
The advantage of such a swarm is that if one drone drops out or a few crash due to enemy countermeasures, the group can rearrange or self-heal itself to complete the mission until the last UAV is in the air.
“Massed attacks are highly difficult to counter with traditional defence and can overwhelm the defenders to a large extent. This has only been made clear by the high-density drone attacks against Russian military in Ukraine and on Saudi oilfields. Swarm UAVs thus provide a very unequal value of return, and, more importantly, drones operating together and striving for target saturation through numbers not only have a higher likelihood of mission success, but also impose a high cost penalty on air defence forces,” a source added.
Swarm drone programmes are being aggressively pursued by countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia, Israel, and China.
While new technology, particularly AI and edge computing, will drive drone swarms, experts say the crucial component is swarming software.
This aspect of swarming makes development tough, and few nations have been able to demonstrate missions displaying de-centralized swarming algorithms, with India being one of them, according to reports.
Swarm drones are a group of unmanned aerial vehicles that work together. These have Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can communicate with one another as well as the control station.
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