The system will be effective against drones by jamming control, communication uplink as well as downlink, data and Global Navigation Satellite System links

Faced with increasing threat from various kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles and drones, the Indian Army is seeking 200 man-portable drone jammers for troops to deal with such hazards at the tactical level.

“The Drone Jammer (Man-Portable) will be capable of detection and jamming of all types of drones and quadcopters in field conditions. The system will comprise of radio frequency (RF) and other requisite sensors to achieve target detection and engagement,” a request for proposal (RFP) issued by the Ministry of Defence on January 20 states.

The system will be effective against drones by jamming control, communication uplink as well as downlink, data and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) links. “The inputs of all sensors should be amalgamated through a C2 (command and control) system to facilitate efficient operation of the system,” the RFP further states.

The Army’s requirement is for systems that have a range of at least 5 km for target identification and acquisition and a range of 2 km or above for executing jamming counter measures against hostile drones.

These should also be suitable for varied terrain and climatic conditions, including high altitude areas with extremely cold weather, having an operating temperature range from minus 10 degree Celsius to 45 degree Celsius.

Defining specifications for electronic countermeasures, the RFP states that it should be possible to engage drones in the frequencies 100 MHz to 6 GHz or better. “The System should be able to simultaneously jam GNSS (BeiDou, GPS, GLONASS and IRNSS), command and control data and telemetry links of the target drones,” it adds. The system would have a threat library of all known drones’ signatures, which would be updated regularly.

The RFP for man-portable jammers comes close on the heels of another RFP floated on January 18 for the procurement of 20 vehicle mounted drone jammers capable of detecting, tracking and neutralising drones or drone swarms from multiple directions simultaneously over longer ranges.

Several types of anti-drone systems are being used by the armed forces as well as border guarding forces to counter drones. Extensive research and development is also being undertaken in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles as well as counter drone measures by government as well as private agencies.

Drones of various sizes as well as capabilities are being deployed for surveillance, reconnaissance, offensive operations as well as for logistic support in remote areas. These are also being increasingly used for nefarious activities like cross-border smuggling of narcotics, weapons and fake currency.

In 2022, the Border Security Force (BSF) reported a three-fold increase in drone activities over the previous year along the western border with Pakistan that runs through the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The number of drone activities went up from 100 in 2021 to 304 in 2022.

This year there have already been several incidents of drones being spotted or shot down in the vicinity of the International Border in Punjab, with weapons and narcotics being seized by the BSF.