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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Adani-manufactured drones set to be inducted into Indian Navy's maritime operations

Manufactured by Adani Defence and Aerospace for the navy in Hyderabad, the Drishti-10 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an indigenously built version of the Hermes-900 UAV of Elbit Systems of Israel and has over 70 per cent indigenous content

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 11.01.24, 06:21 AM
Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar during unveiling of the Drishti 10 Starliner Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at the Adani Aerospace Park in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar during unveiling of the Drishti 10 Starliner Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at the Adani Aerospace Park in Hyderabad on Wednesday. PTI picture

Indian Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar on Wednesday unveiled the first indigenously manufactured Drishti-10 starliner medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone, set to be inducted into naval maritime operations to augment the navy’s ability to keep a close eye on the strategic waters of the Indian Ocean.

Manufactured by Adani Defence and Aerospace for the navy in Hyderabad, the Drishti-10 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an indigenously built version of the Hermes-900 UAV of Elbit Systems of Israel and has over 70 per cent indigenous content.

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The navy chief took the delivery of the first Drishti 10 Starliner.

The UAV will fly from Hyderabad to Porbandar in Gujarat to be pressed into naval maritime operations.

The navy currently operates tactical drones in addition to the four High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones called "Sea Guardians".

Emphasising the importance of drones in modern warfare, Admiral Kumar said autonomous systems were becoming a preferred choice in the Order of Battle for nations across the globe. He said Drishti would be a potent force multiplier, adding more capability and credibility to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions across the Indian Ocean region.

He said the integration of Drishti 10 Starliner into naval operations would bolster naval capabilities, “enhancing our preparedness for the ever-evolving maritime surveillance and reconnaissance”.

Sources in the defence ministry said four Drishti 10 Starliners have been ordered — two each for the navy and the army — but the armed forces are planning to acquire about 150 MALE drones later.

In the wake of the recent spate of attacks on merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy has already increased the number of warships deployed for anti-piracy and anti-drone activities in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden to maintain a deterrent presence in the strategic waters.

The navy has deployed over 10 warships with marine commandos in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, showing its naval presence to deter piracy and drone strikes and is conducting enhanced maritime security operations. They are maintaining a persistent presence with regular surveillance missions using P-8I aircraft and drones. The deployed warships include INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Chennai, INS Mormugao, INS Talwar, and INS Tarkash.

Last week, the navy’s maritime commandos (MARCOs) rescued the 21 crew, including 15 Indians, of a merchant vessel after its attempted hijack off Somalia’s coast in the Arabian Sea by unknown 6-8 armed pirates. The navy had deployed a warship, maritime patrol aircraft P-81, and long-range Predator MQ9B drones to carry out the operation.

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