Project Cheetah : Arming Combat Drones (14 August 2020)
Project Cheetah: Arming Combat Drones (14 August 2020)
Why in News:
The proposal of reviving “Project Cheetah” has been sent to a newly formed high-level defence ministry committee under Ajay Kumar, who is now the in-charge of all capital procurements for the three services.
The decision to revive the 'Project Cheetah' has been taken in view of the recent border standoff with China along the Actual Line of Control in eastern Ladakh. After nearly two months of stalemate, the two countries decided mutual disengagement of troops from frictions points in Ladakh.
About the Project:
- It is a project to upgrade the drones for carrying out offensive operations against the enemy.
- Under this project, around 90 Heron drones of the three services would be upgraded to be armed with laser-guided bombs, precision-guided munitions, air to ground and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles.
- The project is expected to cost over Rs 3,500 crores to the government.
- Each of these UAVs even without arming cost Rs 40 crore to 80 crore each, after all these things developed in to armed UAVs, they are going to cross Rs 100 crore, but it’s worth it.
- They are not easy to tackle.
- They can deliver their payload much more safely.
- There is mission and operational control station that is supposed to be setup in the country, that means all the UAVs wherever it has been launched from the services, they can be controlled from one mission station, which can be command control station based in any place of the country.
- The combination of manned and unmanned vehicle is going to give much more divided than what India gain from today’s surveillance UAVs.
- They are helping in knowing the Chinese troop build-up strength in depth areas.
- The upgraded UAVs can be used against conventional military operations as well as in counter-terrorism operations in future.
- The ground forces will be able to get pin-point intelligence about hideouts in areas where men have to be involved in operations.
- Whatever India is producing so far will take many years, so it’s good that this opportunity is being utilize to going for fast track procedures and emergency purchases or upgrading currently available UAVs, so that they can be turned in to combat UAVs in short duration.
- It’s a big wake up call for the country to look in to this and execute it in time bound manner.
Important points made by the Guests
Mayank Singh, Senior Journalist
Maj Gen Ravi Arora (Retd.), Chief Editor, Indian Military Review
Air Vice Marshal Sunil Nanodkar (Retd.), Defence Expert