February 28, 2024

Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3 ( Science and technology)


  • The need for an anti-drone system shielding critical installations in the country came under sharp focus after a drone attack on an iaf base in jammu recently.


  • Recently unmanned aerial vehicles are suspected to have dropped and detonated two explosive devices at the jammu air force station.
  • An fir under sections 16, 18, 23 of the unlawful activities (prevention) act, section 3 of explosive substance act and sections 307, 120-b of the ipc has been lodged into the incident.
  • Earlier, many incidents have been reported of drones from pakistan dropping munitions, rifles and other essentials to support terror activities.
  • After the drone attack on saudi aramco oil facilities in eastern saudi arabia in september 2019, the armed forces held deliberations on the issue and put in place plans to procure counter-drone capabilities.

Comparison between drone and uav:

  • The drone is typically a “quad-copter” having four propellers fitted vertically. These can hover and are highly manoeuvrable.
    • Uavs, on the other hand, typically have the structure of an aeroplane with wings and fuselage. They do not hover.
  • Additionally,drones are difficult to detect. They are made of composite plastics and fabric and are not easily detectable by radars. Besides they fly ultra-low, below a 100ft.
    • Uavs aremade up of aviation metals that can be easily detected in radar until it is not having stealth technology or operating very high in the sky.
  • Drones can be used for reconnaissance, observation,as well as to carry small payloads, including mail and parcels.
  • Drones can be pre-programmed to reach a target area to hover or deliver or be flown by a remote pilot. Winds and weather affect the flight of drones.

How to counter drone threats:

  • Several private defence contractors, over the years,have begun to offer off-the-shelf anti-drone tech to counter hostile unmanned aerial vehicles (uavs), popularly known as drones.
  • Companies, predominantly based out of israel, us, and even china, have developed anti-drone systems using existing technologies such as radars, frequency jammers, optic and thermal sensors etc.

How do these system stand aparts:

  • It comesdown to the range and the manner in which the threat is assessed and neutralised.
  • Some systems simply monitor and alert the presence of a drone,while others are equipped with ballistics and even lasers.

Existing anti drone systems:

  • Rafael,the defence company behind israel’s famed iron dome missile system, has also developed something called the drone dome.
    • Like the iron dome, which identifies and intercepts incoming missiles, the drone dome detects and intercepts drones.
    • Besides the collection of static radars, radio frequency sensors, and cameras it uses to offer 360-degree coverage.
    • The drone dome is also capable of jamming the commands being sent to a hostile drone and blocking visuals,if any, that are being transmitted back to the drone operator.
  • Us-based fortem technologiesalso operates in a similar fashion but uses an interceptor drone (aptly called the ‘dronehunter’).
    • It pursues and captures hostile drones.The dronehunter fires from its netgun a spider web-shaped net to capture targets midair and tow them.

Indigenous solution:

  • The defence research and development organisation (drdo) have developed an anti-drone technology for short ranges which was deployed for prime minister’s security during the independence dayaddress august 2020.
  • It will be deployed this year, according to a march 2021 press release by the ministry of defence.

Current drone rules in india:

  • Current guidelines, brought out by the civil aviation ministry, came as a result of a committee chaired by the director general of bureau of civil aviation security (bcas)and comprising:
    • Directorate general of civil aviation (dgca),
    • Intelligence bureau,
    • Defence research and development organisation (drdo),
    • The airports authority of india,
    • Central industrial security force and
    • The national security guard.
  • The committee’s report stated that in the military domain,small drones have been proliferating at a rate that has alarmed battlefield commanders and planners alike.
    • In certain incidents, the small drones were also armed with explosive ordnance, to convert them into potentially lethal guided missiles.
    • Thus demonstrating the growing sophistication with which these potent warriors have found relevance in combat zones.
  • The guidelines had suggested a number of measures to counter rogue drones depending on the vitality of assets being protected.
  • For places of critical national importance, the rules called for:
    • Deployment of a model that consists of primary and passive detection means like radar, radio frequency (rf) detectors, electro-optical and infrared cameras.
  • In addition to this, soft kill and hard kill measures like rf jammers, gps spoofers, lasers, and drone catching nets were also suggested to be installed.
  • Further, to ensure that a coordinated approach is taken in deploying counter rogue drone measures, the report suggested setting up of a steering committee chaired by a representative of the indian air force and comprising representatives from:
    • Nsg,
    • Central armed police forces (capf),
    • State police departments,
    • Dgca,
    • Aai,
    • National technical research organisation,
    • Ib and
  • Besides the measures lay down to deal with rogue drones, the dgca already has regulations in place for civilian drone operations.
    • These include mandating the no-permission, no-take off (npnt) regulations for drones that prescribe a built-in firewall, which prevents drones without the necessary permissions from taking off.




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