CDS Bipin Rawat saw a demonstration of the prototypes of weaponised drones in Nagpur

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday saw a demonstration of the prototypes of weaponised drones (hexacopter) and “loitering” munition made by a company here, during his brief visit to the city.

The equipment has been manufactured by the Solar Group of Companies, which includes Solar Industries India Ltd and Economic Explosives Ltd located at Nagpur. The group, a global leader in packaged explosives and accessories, took up the challenge to enter the field of drones and loitering munitions in order to keep pace with advancements in defence technologies and adopt force multipliers to counter enemy threats, an official said.

It is developing an array of drones for ammunition delivery to bring a new capability to the Indian armed forces. These drones can be used in both offensive and defensive roles, he said. In offensive role, these drones will drop specially designed warheads and return. They can be used to target enemy troops, bunkers, vehicles and tanks.

The company is working in mission mode with an aim to start production in January next year.

A loitering munition (also known as a suicide drone or kamikaze drone) is a weapon system category in which the munition loiters around the target area for some time, searches for targets, and attacks once a target is located.

Loitering munitions enable faster reaction times against concealed or hidden targets that emerge for short periods without risking high-value platforms like aircraft close to the target area, and also allow more selective targeting.

Worldwide, loitering weapons have been developed for roles ranging from relatively long-range strikes and fire support down to tactical, very short-range battlefield systems that fit in a backpack.

India has been dependent on this specialised munition through the import route. Solar Industries will be the first Indian company to fully indigenize and develop loitering munitions in-house, he said.

It will not only score above the imported munition in technical features and specifications but will also be almost 40 per cent cheaper, the official said. The timeline set by the firm to complete this task is February next year.