A tender document in this regard issued on August 29 that has been accessed by News18 reveals that the Navy has decided to buy such systems for Rs 490 crore, given that the threat from enemy drones exists on the sea as well as its various bases in the country

The Indian Navy has decided to spend Rs 490 crore to procure counter-drone systems for its warships like the INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant and the force’s bases ashore to combat threats from enemy drones of Pakistan, China, and terrorist outfits. News18 has accessed a tender document in this regard issued on August 29.

“The Ministry of Defence, Government of India, intends to procure Counter Drone System (Soft Kill) for use onboard Indian Naval warships and establishments ashore,” says the Request for Information (RFI) document.

This is significant as enemy drones have been a major concern for Army and Air Force establishments in the country and led to the procurement of anti-drone systems by these forces. The Navy has now also decided to buy such systems given that the threat from enemy drones exists on the sea as well as its various bases in the country.

The Indian Navy has two aircraft carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya, eight warships, and various destroyers and frigates. The counter-drone systems will be procured from Indian vendors. “The system should be capable of installation on and operation from a ship, operation from establishment ashore, including mobile variant and should have 360° coverage through integral radar for aerial and surface target. The radar should have capability for detection and tracking of Mini/Micro drone at 5 km or more, and intercept them while identifying the direction of the drone’s signals," says the document.

A Naval Anti-Drone System has been developed by the DRDO with the support of the Indian Navy and is being manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited.

How The System Will Work

The system would have directional ability to jam frequencies used for drone communication and would be capable of carrying out threat evaluation, target classification (nano/mini/micro drone, etc), target prioritisation, engagement planning, generating fire control solutions, and assignment of targets to weapons with operator control, the document says.

The counter-drone system can engage multiple targets and perform a “kill assessment". “The response time from assignment of the target to engagement should be such that it is able to achieve threat neutralization prior reaching the desired minimum interception range,” the document says.

Drone Capacity of Indian Navy

The Navy has been using two General Atomics-manufactured SeaGuardian surveillance drones on lease since 2020 after the Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops.

The government is also planning to buy 31 armed Predator drones (MQ-9B) from the US to further enhance the capabilities of the Army, IAF, and Navy.