Indian Army Receives First Batch of Indigenous High Precision, Man-Portable Suicide Drone – Nagastra -1 with Reusable Technology

Defence Industry

New Delhi: The Indian Army is all set to induct its first indigenous loiter munition, Nagastra-1 as it has received the first batch of indigenously produced man-portable suicide drones following a successful pre-delivery Inspection (PDI).

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Economics Explosives Ltd (EEL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of Solar Industries delivered the first batch of 120 units to an Army ammunition depot. The Army has placed a supply order of 480 loiter munitions under the emergency procurement power from EEL.

Designed and developed by EEL, a subsidiary of Solar Industries, Nagpur – the Nagastra-1 excels in “kamikaze mode” by neutralising hostile threats with GPS-enabled precision strikes, boasting an accuracy of up to two metres. These drones are engineered to accurately strike enemy training camps, launch pads, and infiltrators, thus minimising risk to soldiers.

Nagastra-1 is a cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with an indigenous content of over 75 per cent, designed for loitering munitions with advanced features such as abort, recover, and reuse capabilities. The addition of Nagastra-1 enhances the army’s capability to execute shallow strikes across the border when necessary.

Capable of operating from high-altitude areas in extreme temperatures, these drones were delivered within a year to address urgent needs along the Pakistan and China borders. These systems can target a variety of soft-skin threats and offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional missiles and precision munitions. They are particularly suited for lower-end targets, such as groups of infiltrating terrorists at the border.

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Nagastra-1’s parachute recovery mechanism, allows the munition to be retrieved and reused in case of an aborted mission. Such systems are widely used in contemporary conflicts, including the Ukraine-Russia war and the Armenia-Azerbaijan skirmishes. Previously, the armed forces procured similar systems from foreign vendors during an earlier round of emergency acquisitions, albeit at a much higher cost.

Equipped with a range of features, Nagastra-1 sets itself apart from similar systems developed globally. The suicide drones can neutralise any hostile threat with GPS-enabled precision strikes with an accuracy of 2 metres.

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The fixed-wing electric UAV has an endurance of 60 minutes, a man-in-loop range of 15 km, and a range of 30 km in autonomous mode. Due to its electric propulsion system, Nagastra-1 provides a low acoustic signature, making it almost undetectable at altitudes over 200 metres.

Designed in collaboration with Z-Motion Autonomous Systems Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, Nagastra-1 is a man-portable system with an all-up weight of 30 kg split across two rucksacks, including a ground control station, communication control, payload and pneumatic launcher.

The munition can carry a 1 kg warhead up to a range of 15 km, with an upgraded version capable of carrying a 2.2 kg warhead up to 30 km. The success of Nagastra-1 builds on the potential of drone technology as a force multiplier in military operations.

At a time when most industries in India lack the expertise for weaponised drones in combat applications, Solar industries embarked on developing various weaponised drones. The successful development of Nagastra-1 marks the beginning of this advancement and is poised to significantly bolster India’s indigenous capability in employing UAVs as formidable war machinery.