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Aero India 2023: IAF develops new C-UAS capability

The Indian Air Force's 9 Base Repair Depot unit has developed a new counter-unmanned aircraft system with soft-kill capabilities (pictured). (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has developed a low-cost counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) with soft-kill capabilities to improve security of vital areas/vital points (VAs/VPs) against hostile unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Project Officer Wing Commander Ranjith Unnikrishnan, told Janes at the Aero India 2023 show being held in Bangalore from 13 to 17 February.

The C-UAS – developed by the IAF's 9 Base Repair Depot (9 BRD) unit in Pune – includes a micro-doppler radar with a range of 7–10 km. The radar has an inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, which can discern UAVs and birds, Unnikrishnan said. 9 BRD is also working to enable the radar to identify different UAVs, he added.

The radar is supported by a camera and acoustic sensors to get an accurate detection of UAVs, Unnikrishnan said.

The C-UAS has jamming and spoofing capabilities. It can jam the radio frequencies that a UAV uses to communicate with its ground control station. However, this can induce the UAV to crash somewhere, causing collateral damage. As a result, spoofing is a more convenient response enabling the forces to hijack hostile UAVs and landing/crashing them at a safe point, Unnikrishnan added.

Given the range of the radar, one C-UAS unit is not sufficient for a typical airfield. It is estimated that around 20 C-UAS units will be required for one airfield, Unnikrishnan said.

“We intend to install multiple units [of the C-UAS] at an interval of 250 m in an airfield. This will be done by mounting the jammers on the light posts around the airfield,” he added.

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