New Delhi: With growing use of drones, security agencies guarding the Indo-Pak border areas, particularly in Punjab and J&K, will soon be equipped with indigenous anti-drone equipment developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to deal with the drones, which are operated from within Pakistan and drop weapons and drugs in Indian territory.
According to sources in the Ministry of Defence, the counter drone system developed by DRDO was tested in Punjab region in 2020 and has been put through extensive trials since then. This equipment has a laser weapon which is effective till 1,000 metres range with other features, including a radio frequency jammer and a GPS jammer/spoofer.
“Orders have been placed in sufficient numbers for this anti-drone equipment that will be supplied to the stake holders dealing with border security by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL),” said an official who did not want to be named. While the initial numbers may not be enough to meet the requirement, yet the usual suspect routes of ingress will be covered adequately. “The entire border cannot be covered so the counter drone systems have to be placed based on intelligence inputs, past behaviour and the anticipated reaction in future,” another official said.
An intra-departmental task force is also working on the aspects of counter drone measures, especially in Punjab and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir. The urgency in the matter stems not only from the frequent deliveries of arms and ammunition and drugs through drones discovered in Punjab but also the drone attack on Air Force Station in Jammu in June 2021.
Data available with the security agencies shows that the majority of drone sightings have been in Punjab in 2021 compared to Jammu and Kashmir. The BSF has reported 100 drone sightings along the International Border in Punjab, Rajasthan and J&K in 2021 and out of these 67 have been in Punjab, 24 in Jammu area, six in Rajasthan, two in Gujarat and one in Kashmir region.
In the absence of an effective counter-drone technology, the BSF has been relying on firing at the drones sighted along the border though with little success of bringing them down. It is often claimed that the drones go back into Pakistani territory after being fired upon.
More than two years back, Army tried using anti-aircraft guns to bring down drones crossing over from Pakistan in areas falling under the Ferozepur Army Division but it was found that the air defence radars could not capture the small objects.