Amid heightened drone threat, military installations placed on high alert

Radio signals as well as internet and social media traffic are also monitored

Chandigarh, June 27

Military installations were placed on high alert following two low-intensity explosions inside Jammu Air Force station on Sunday morning believed to have been caused by drones flying at low altitude.

“The possibility of such incidents at other locations cannot be ruled out. Surveillance in and around military bases has been stepped up and additional resources have been deployed, ”said one officer.

Since the deployment of anti-drone systems is still in its infancy, more guards have been deployed to the periphery to monitor suspicious flying objects, he added.

Sources said constant liaison was also maintained with local police as well as intelligence agencies. Radio signals as well as internet and social media traffic are also monitored.

The highly sensitive Air Force Station in Jammu is located just 14 km from the international border with Pakistan and is an important facility as it houses helicopters, drones and auxiliary units. It also has a co-located civilian enclave maintained by the Airports Authority of India for commercial operations.

The Border Security Force (BSF), responsible for the peacetime management of the Indo-Pakistan border, is also on the alert. The BSF has reported an increase in drone activity along the border over the years.

In the past five months alone, there have been a number of instances where illegal weapons and ammunition have been reportedly dropped on the Indian side of the border. This is in addition to incidents of drones used by Pakistan for reconnaissance violating Indian airspace in the Jammu region.

On May 16, BSF personnel observed a drone along the international border in the Kanachak area at night, which triggered a massive search operation in the area.

Only days earlier, BSF had recovered weapons and ammunition in the Samba sector, which it said had been dropped by a drone on May 14.

On April 24, BSF personnel fired at two drones that had crossed the Indian side of the border in the Arnia area of ​​Jammu. On February 14, six pistols and some improvised explosive devices were recovered by the BSF in Samba.

Previous years have also seen several incidents of weapons and ammunition from Pakistan being dropped across the border along the Samba-Jammu-Akhnoor axis. The international border with Pakistan ends at Akhnoor and the line of control that separates Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani Kashmir extends further north.

While the central government has developed a policy to regulate the ownership and operations of drones in India, the use of rogue drones by terrorists or hostile countries has been cited as a serious security risk.

Most types of drones used are much smaller than conventional airplanes, and because their tiny radar section and low altitude make them difficult to electronically track, ground forces must rely primarily on visual observations and an audio signature for them. detect.

The armed forces as well as law enforcement organizations are developing an anti-drone capability that includes a doctrinal approach to counter the threat as well as the technology and physical systems to detect and neutralize drones. There are several ways in which a drone can be detected, identified, deactivated or destroyed.

Last year, the Defense Research and Development Organization unveiled a self-designed anti-drone system, which has so far been said to have been selectively deployed, with state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited designated as the agency. of production.

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