Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Indian startups to develop unmanned drones with missiles for the Indian armed forces.
“Today unmanned drones with missiles on them are the envy of many countries. I already get the feeling that those are not beyond us to produce,” Sitharaman said at the launch of Defence India Startup Challenge in Bengaluru.
“You won’t lose your skilled manpower if you can remote control operations to finish your targets,” she added.
Emphasising to work in direction of cyber and space warfare, the Defence Minister said that if the two areas are left defenceless, everything with manpower is meaningless.
She urged the Defence India Startup to come up with the solutions in the matters pertaining to space and cyber warfare.
Further highlighting various measures taken by the Centre for the growth of startups, the Defence Minister said that her Ministry will make sure that their ideas and prototypes get a market.
“We are not going to disqualify startups in anything you want to approach us with. Whether it is a bid, tender or suo motu proposal. All three avenues are open for startups,” she said.
“The entire Ministry of Defence wants startups to tell us when you want to have the trials for the ideas you have. We don’t want to delay it in any way, “she added.
In the recent past there have been a few incidents of the illegal flying of Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in India. In one of the incidents, an Air India flight narrowly missed a drone while landing at Delhi. It calls for an urgent need for regulating drones in India.
Drones have been defined as: “Powered, aerial vehicles that do not carry a human operator, use aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload.” They are seen as major force multipliers for surveillance and real time imagery, data transfer and fire lethal weapons at targets. They are considered a cost-effective weapon system with no risk to operators. Thus, they are being portrayed as weapons of future warfare, with some 100 countries in the process of acquiring them.
Besides manufacturing drones, India has procured lethal drones from Israel and is in the process of acquiring US Predator (or MQ-9B Guardian) naval drones. Predators are high-altitude, long-endurance drones capable of flying non-stop for over 27 hours for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Drones are being used by the Indian police and paramilitary forces to enhance aerial surveillance during anti-insurgency operations. In April 2015, the police successfully tested drones for the dispersal of pepper spray in Lucknow. These drones have a high resolution camera, can carry 2 kg of a riot-control agent, fly within a radius of one kilometre of the operator.
SOURCE : DNA INDIA