Army seeks light-weight, man-portable systems to defeat unconventional armed drones targeting air defences : The Tribune India

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Army seeks light-weight, man-portable systems to defeat unconventional armed drones targeting air defences

According to broad specifications listed by Directorate General of Air Defence, the LPDCM should be deployable in all types of terrain

Army seeks light-weight, man-portable systems to defeat unconventional armed drones targeting air defences

The Ministry of Defence has projected a requirement of 30-50 man-portable systems that are primarily intended to neutralise drones employed for the suppression and destruction of enemy air defences. Representative image/PTI file



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, July 8

Drawing lessons from ongoing conflicts in Europe and elsewhere on the use of unconventional drones to target enemy air defence platforms, the Indian Army is on the lookout for Light Weight Passive Detection and Counter Measure Systems (LPDCM) to deal with such threats without having to give away their own position.

The Ministry of Defence has projected a requirement of 30-50 such man-portable systems that are primarily intended to neutralise drones employed for the suppression and destruction of enemy air defences (SEAD), according to a request for information (RFI) floated by the ministry on July 5.

“Recent conflicts in Europe have demonstrated effective employment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), loitering ammunition and explosive laden commercial drones,” the RFI states.

“Wide spread use of UCAVS and loitering ammunition optimised for SEAD to carry out precision strike against air defence radars and weapons has been noted during these conflicts,” the RFI adds.

These drones have low radar cross section and feature various transmitters in the electromagnetic band for purpose of altimeter, terrain avoidance, radar, telemetry and data and video downlinks.

Emissions from these transmitters, can be picked up by a suitable passive sensor which can ascertain the position of these air threats with reasonable accuracy. In addition, the location of this system is not given away electronically as it is passive in nature.

Drone manufactures and drone users are also innovating while the counter-drone technologies are evolving. It is not uncommon for drones to feature inertial navigation and anti-jam measures.

Drones are no longer sticking to erstwhile standard industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band, and exploitation of frequencies in high frequency, LORAN, 5G, X, Ku and Ka Bands are increasingly being used by drones. Use of spread spectrum and frequency hopping trans-receivers by drones has also been observed, the RFI states.

Before other air defence weapons are brought to bear against the target drone, it is intended to initiate electronic counter measures against the same to stop or divert its flight.

The LPDCM, therefore, should be capable of detecting and classifying drones using nonstandard transmission channels and must incorporate a software defined sector/transmitter which is capable of producing the desired signal to effectively intervene with the drone's control, navigation signals and downlinks.

According to broad specifications listed by the Directorate General of Air Defence, the LPDCM should be deployable in all types of terrain and be fully functional in temperatures ranging from minus 25 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius and at altitudes above 16,000 feet.

The LPDCM would be integrated with the existing 3D Tactical Control and Low-Level Light Weight Radars of the Army Air Defence in order to enhance their operational capability and survivability.

The system would be equipped with both omni-directional as well as directional antennas providing 360 degree coverage and would be capable of being controlled from the operator cabin of the existing 3D tactical radar with no increment to crew.

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