Drones are an effective instrument for border security because they enable real-time surveillance, target tracking, and the tracking of human movement and unlawful activity via high-quality video streams. Contrary to stationary video cameras, drones equipped with thermal detection cameras are significantly better at spotting unusual activity, like attempts at crossing the border illegally via deep forests or mountainous areas. In addition to reaching locations considered too risky for people, drones are quicker and less expensive to operate than helicopters. Drone technology could provide security agencies with a safer and more reliable method of securing international boundaries.
However, despite being remarkable, today’s technology is shaping the strategies and methods of upcoming terrorist strikes. The drone is the most foresighted piece of modern technology that will enable terrorism in the future. Drones can provide the following:
- A standoff
- Allowing terrorists to carry out several strikes simultaneously
- Quickly amplifying the overall impact
A terrorist act aims to instill fear in an intended audience civilian population or government—to persuade them to compel or enforce political change. Future terrorists will choose drones as their weapon due to the vast rise in the variety of form factors, abilities, simplicity of access, and simple operation of drones at low cost.
Drone Attacks and Smuggling Records in India
- Two drones carrying explosives crashed into an Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Jammu last year, sending shockwaves across India’s defense department. It was among the first drones to launch a severe attack on security forces in India. Since then, there have been increasing allegations of drones being used to bring weapons and drugs into India. Along the India–Pakistan border in Punjab, the Border Security Force (BSF) caught a drone attempting to smuggle drugs into the country in February.
- In May, Punjab police discovered four handguns and ammunition brought into the country using drones along the India-Pakistan border. This year, over 20 similar incidents have already been documented. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Domestic Affairs previously identified drone technology as dangerous to national safety. It recommended the Ministry of Home Affairs establishes a bank of anti-drone technologies.
- Border Security Force head Pankaj Kumar Singh said that the force is always trying to create counter-drone and anti-tunnel technology to combat cross-border narcotics and weapons smuggling and attempt terrorist penetration along the India-Pakistan border. According to the BSF director general, between December 2021 and May 2022, the unit gunned down seven drones and discovered three tunnels beneath the Pakistani border.
He clarified that they are maintaining a high vigilance on underground tunnels used by terrorists for invasion and cross-border drone activity to transfer narcotics and weapons. The BSF is also researching and developing cutting-edge methods of inspecting tunnels and autonomous aerial vehicles. Singh was giving the annual “Rustamji Memorial Lecture” to the border force members as part of an impeachment trial ceremony. The roughly 2.65 million strong army was established in 1965 and is mainly responsible for protecting the Indian border with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Nityanand Rai, minister of state for the home, provided the keynote address and presented the Police Medal of Valor to sixteen individuals (including two posthumously).
- Second-in-command officer Deepak Kumar Mandal gave his life in 2017 trying to halt livestock trafficking over the border from India into Tripura; he is among those who have been honored for their efforts.
- Smugglers attacked Mandal, who commanded the 145th battalion of the Border Security Force, with a four-wheeler on October 16, and he died just four days later.
- During the terrorist assault on the Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) airfield on October 3, 2017, thirteen BSF members were given gallantry medals for their bravery in killing the three attackers. Assistant Sub Inspector Brijkishor Yadav (posthumously) and Deputy Inspectors General S S Guleria and Hari Lal are only a few who have been recognized for their roles in this mission.
India shares a critical border with Pakistan and China, and India must have a robust border defense system. Moreover, contemporary warfare will be waged using technology such as artificial intelligence and drones, and India must thus engage in modernized anti-drone technology. Since the drone strike in June 2021, the government has prioritized anti-drone technology substantially.
During the Independence Day activities in New Delhi, an anti-drone device created by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was erected near the Red Fort to combat unwelcome drones.
DRDO’s D-4 Drone System
As per DRDO, the D-4 drone sensor can recognize, classify, and disable several drone categories, including tiny hybrid UAVs, micro UAV/multi-rotor, and nano UAVs. It consists of a day-night camera and can identify and destroy drones within a 4-kilometer radius. Using RF jamming and Anti-GNSS technology, the anti-drone device may immobilize drones by disrupting their communication channels. Using Laser Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) can entirely deactivate them.
The drone system would have uncovered an assault in Jammu. The system aims to identify illegal drones that strike the most susceptible areas. Dr. Jillelamudi Manjula, director general (electronics and communication systems) of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), told ANI that the system is equipped with several sensors and two separate counter-attacks to eliminate hostile drones. The Indian military, which consists of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, has purchased the DRDO-developed anti-drone device to boost border security. In 2021, the anti-drone system reported its first kill.
Israel’s Smash 2000 Plus
According to reports from the previous year, the Indian military services are testing the Israeli anti-drone SMASH 2000 Plus devices. In 2020, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said that the Indian Navy had acquired anti-drone weaponry in Smash-2000 guns. The Indian Navy previously received an undetermined amount of SMASH 2000 Plus.
The sight is readily compatible with assault rifles such as the Ak-47. Drones frequently hover at low altitudes, making them challenging for radars to identify. In such situations, this innovation comes into play since defense officers in the field can only depend on a manual technique to disable nearer drones.
Grene Robotics of Hyderabad claims to have created and constructed Indrajaal, India’s first indigenous unmanned drone defense shield. The company claimed it would guard a vast region of 1,000 to 2,000 square kilometers per system independently from risks like uncrewed aerial vehicles, approaching weapons, hovering bombs, and low-RCS targets. It employs contemporary technology, such as AI, and can automatically recognize, evaluate, choose, act, and change in real time. According to the CEO of defense at Grene Robotic, Wg Cdr MVN Sai (Retired), the future is an intelligent dome equipped with its ecosystem of sensing and processing.
Why are Drones Possible Killers?
Drones, which have an enormous ability to help people in various ways, may do devastating harm if managed by a malicious actor. It is due to the following factors:
Commonly, radars monitor aircraft and other airborne vehicles. Radars generate radiofrequency signals in short bursts; the reflections occur when they strike any objects in the airspace. The reflectivity of an item relies on variables such as size, composition, etc., and it assists the radar in determining the object’s identity. However, drones, such as nano drones, are difficult to recognize by radar due to their small radar cross-section (RCS). If high-resolution radar systems that enable drone monitoring are not implemented, the threat of stealth drones delivering sensitive information to potential enemies will continue to exist.
A drone might then live-transmit the information it collects or retain and return it to its operator on the base. The only advantage of destroying a drone capable of live broadcasting is that the operator can no longer utilize it. However, destroying the device may stop the supervisor from obtaining the collected data if the device cannot live data transfer. However, as these drones are small, it is difficult to destroy them even if discovered.
Attribution of Origin
Regardless of whether a drone is identified and rendered inoperable, it is impossible to determine who sent it. It is essential to determine the source of the drone to identify the actual opponent.
Drones are less expensive, safer, and more effective than traditional espionage tactics. Drones are unmanned. Hence they do not pose a risk to those controlling them. The operator behind the remote control may fly the drones wherever he likes, and he can spy on the objects from a safe distance without really approaching them.
- Drones are less expensive, safer, and more effective than traditional espionage tactics. Drones are unmanned; thus, they do not pose a danger to those controlling them.
- The operator behind the remote control may fly the drone wherever he likes; he can spy on the objects from a safe distance without really approaching them.
- A long-range subsonic missile system (such as the ‘Tomahawk’ used by the United States Navy and the Royal Navy) costs around $1.87 million. Still, a tiny military UAV (such as the Wasp-III UAV used by the United States Air Force) costs approximately $49,000. The cost of consumer drones, such as nano drones and quadcopters, varies from $30 to several thousand dollars, making them accessible to a large population. Therefore, silent drones are the most efficient and secure method of spying.
Are There Laws in India about Flying Drones?
Absolutely. India has rules and laws about drones. The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is in charge of enforcing civil aviation laws in India. Here are the guidelines and regulations for drones in India:
Civil Aviation Requirements (National Drone Policy 1.0) 2018: Under Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules 1937, the DGCA released the CAR on the Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. It puts drones into five categories:
- Nano (up to 250 grams),
- Micro (250 grams to 2 kilograms),
- Small (2 kilograms to 25 kilograms),
- Medium (25 kilograms to 150 kilograms), and
- Large (more than 150 kg).
It also put rules for drone flying, like the UAO Permit, Unique Identification Number, No Permission-No Take-Off Policy, etc.
National Rules to Stop Unauthorized Drones, 2019
These Guidelines include ways to stop people from misusing drones. For example, they talk about how important it is to have ways to find and stop drones, as well as rules that are strictly followed. It also talks about the limits of the current way to stop people from misusing drones.
National Drone Policy 2.0: Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in 2021
In addition to how drones are put into groups in the National Drone Policy 1.0, these Rules add more groups, such as airplanes, rotorcraft, hybrids, autonomous aircraft systems, and so on. It also sets some rules for nano-drones, like they have to have geo-fencing and be able to go back home on their own, among other things. It also adds new rules for people who own drones, import, export, make, and operate UASs in India, etc.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021 Put Limits on How Drones can be Used. Here are the Most Important Restrictions
Under the UAS Rules 2021, the following people and companies are allowed to buy, sell, operate, or make drones in India:
- Individual:An Indian citizen who is at least 18 years old. A company or corporate entity must have been registered and have its primary place of business in India. The Chairman and at least two-thirds of the filmmakers must be Indian citizens.
- Registration: UAS must be registered with the Director-General of Civil Aviation by filling out Form UA-1 and sending it to the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The DGCA may tell the candidate to get special permission from the relevant authorities. The applicant could then be permitted to own, trade, run, etc. The applicant also receives a Unique Authorization Number (UAN) that can be utilized for up to 10 years.
No permission, no take-off rule: All drones (except for nano) must comply with the “no-permission, no take-off” principle; just before a flight, the controller must obtain authorization through the DigitalSky Platform smartphone app. The drones must have tamper-resistant NPNT software and DigitalSky-configured firmware. Therefore, the drone cannot fly off if the app denies authorization.
The Altitude of the Flight
- Up to 15 meters AGL or 15 m/s maximum speed and a maximum range of 100 meters from the distant pilot;
- Up to sixty meters AGL or a maximum speed of twenty-five meters per second;
- Up to 120 meters AGL or a maximum speed of 2 meters per second;
- Medium/Large drone – As per the requirements outlined in the DGCA Operator Permit.
DGCA-issued ‘UAS Operator Permit’ is required to fly a drone, except for nano drones. To apply for a License, operators must possess a Remote Pilot License. The DGCA must receive Form UA-12 or the UAS Operator Permit-I (for micro and small drones) or Form UA-13 or the UAS Operator Permit-II (for all drones of advanced functionality) to issue the Permit. It has a maximum 10-year validity.
Two kinds of licenses exist the Remote Aircraft Pilot Licence (RAPL) and the Student Remote Pilot License (SRPL). The SRPL for a specific drone type or category (airplane, rotorcraft, or hybrid) may be obtained by submitting Form UA-14 to any approved training company and completing training; the license is valid for up to 5 years.
To begin remote flying instruction, the learner must obtain SRPL; upon completion of training and testing, the student receives RAPL and, upon receipt, the Permit. The RAPL has a 10-year validity period.
No Flight Zones
These are a few of the no-fly spaces:
- Within 5 kilometers of the perimeter of the international airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad; Within 3 kilometers of the perimeter of any domestic, private, or military airports;
- AAI-designated Prohibited, Restricted, and Dangerous Areas;
- Within 25 kilometers of the international boundary, including the Line of Control, Line of Actual Control, and Actual Ground Position Line;
- Within 3 kilometers of military sites or outposts;
- Within 2km of the boundary of the Ministry of Home Affairs-designated essential facilities and vital installations;
- From either a moving platform such as a vehicle, ship, or aircraft;
However, authorization or approval may be required to operate drones over these zones.
There are several beneficial applications for drones. However, their potential consequences cannot be overlooked. Drones are evolving into an increasingly integral component of contemporary warfare. The Unmanned Aircraft System Rules 2021 seem excellent, but their execution faces various obstacles. The vulnerability of drones to India may be effectively mitigated by combining rules with a strategy for their implementation.