The Indian Navy's 10 new drones will be deployed on warships for surveillance and reconnaissance

Days after the Government of India cleared the upgrade of drones for the three Armed forces, the Navy is set to buy 10 surveillance drones. These will take off from the Indian Navy's warships monitor Chinese vessels in close proximity to Indian waters.

The 10 surveillance drones are being acquired as per a fast-track process under which the unmanned aerial vehicles would be procured in the next year.

As per the plans of the Indian Navy, these drones will be deployed on warships enabling them to detect Chinese movement as well as any other activities in and around Indian territorial waters. Likely to be acquired using an open bid, these drones will be deployed on warships for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Indian Navy is working separately on a project to acquire Sea Guardian drones from the United States for expanding its surveillance in the country's areas of interest from Madagascar to Malacca Straits and beyond. The Navy is also getting its existing drones upgraded as part of an upgrade program that was recently taken up for discussion in the Ministry of Defence.

UAVs were first inducted into the Indian Navy when INS Garuda was commissioned on May 11, 1953. The Indian Navy later acquired two variants of the UAV, the Searcher Mk II and the larger and more capable Heron from IAI Malat in December of 2002.

Earlier this month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India will stop importing 101 weapons and platforms in an effort to promote indigenisation of defence production. These include artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, light combat helicopters, radars, wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), and transport aircraft among others.