At the moment, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which has been working on drone warfare concepts for more than five years, is working towards the design, development and integration of key subsystems of Warrior. The Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, the eventual users of the platform, will need to re-shape their operational philosophies around the concept of 'combat-teaming' to effectively integrate the use of a manned and unmanned platform.

The Warrior drone is a low-observable platform which is difficult to detect on radar.

The Hunter drone is a part of a series of new designs which are in the process of being designed and developed. This includes the Hunter cruise missile, designed to hit targets more than 200 kilometres away and a swarm drone system called ALFA-S designed to hone in on multiple targets which it identifies through artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology which allows the weapon to discriminate between possible targets.

Alfa-S (foreground) is a next-generation swarm-drone meant to hunt down targets such as surface to air missile installations

Being designed with HAL by Newspace Research and Technologies, a Bangalore-based start-up, the ALFA-S may not have any parallel around the world. The drones are housed on a unique carrier, mounted on a Jaguar fighter bomber. The carrier separates from the Jaguar, glides for approximately 100-plus kilometres before releasing the propeller-powered swarm drones which engage their targets. "The ALFA-S drones are programmed with algorithms to seek and destroy enemy surface to air missiles, aircraft on the ground and other ground targets. The unique nature of the platform gives it an export potential for friendly nations," the source said.

With the showcasing of the CATS program at Aero India 2021, HAL has committed to and embarked on the Next Generation product development effort to cater to the future warfare needs of the Indian Armed Force.