skip to main content

Clearing the air: India progresses counter-UAV capability

The IAF has developed a low-cost C-UAS that can jam and spoof hostile UAVs. The C-UAS was unveiled at Aero India 2023 in Bangalore in February. (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)

The proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the ways in which these platforms are leveraged by India's adversaries, has pushed the country to prioritise the development of counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UASs).

On the one hand, India is concerned about China and Pakistan's growing arsenal of military UAVs, which are often operated in an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role along disputed borders with India. On the other hand, New Delhi is wary about the increasing use of UAVs – however crude – by non-state actors, particularly in areas bordering Pakistan such as Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

A militant attack in June 2021 targeting the Indian Air Force (IAF) Station Jammu using two explosive-laden UAVs proved to be a wake-up call for the Indian Armed Forces to improve C-UAS capabilities.

In the past two years, there has been a sharp rise in the frequency of detected or captured UAVs dropping weapons, money, or narcotics into India. According to Janes data, in January and February 2023 alone, there were at least 11 incidents where security forces intervened and disrupted the operations of such UAVs. The Indian Armed Forces and the Border Security Force (BSF) allege that most of these UAVs are launched by non-state actors from Pakistan.

The development of C-UAS capabilities is deemed necessary by the Indian Armed Forces not only to have a military edge but also to enhance its asymmetric warfare capability.

Indian military sources told Janes that the IAF is the “lead agency” directing the adaption and implementation of new C-UAS measures in the country.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...