New Delhi: From a mere aeromodels by high school and college students, drones have now become a major weapons for military use as was seen recently in Saudi Arabia where on September 14 such weapons were used to blow up half of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output.
The attack saw 18 low-cost drones (along with cruise missiles), supposedly deployed by Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack the Saudi oil facilities, caused oil prices to jump more than 10 per cent in a day.
In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones that used to improve our daily lives with logistics and mapping support can now be programmed to destroy things remotely. What makes them lethal and effective for warfare are advancements in video-camera techniques, precision operations with improved GPS, stealth operations and faster speed. In fact, capability improvements can be seen from India’s own drone procurement and manufacturing.
Back in the 1990s, the Indian Army bought Israeli drones for recce and surveillance. But this year, an order was placed for more than 50 Harop attack drones from Israel. Meanwhile, state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and a clutch of private Indian companies are making drones and developing UAV technologies.