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Achieving Excellence in Defence Grade Drones

As the face of warfare is changing, defence procurement globally started shifting towards new age technologies like drones in a quest to equip their forces with strategic edge and operational excellence. In view of the increasing importance of drones in defence, Government of India has initiated drone development programmes to achieve atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in making and upgradation of defence grade drones in India. Defence forces, PSUs, academia and industry collaborated in developing some of the path-breaking unmanned / remotely piloted and autonomous aerial platforms to be deployed by forces.

This background paper presents a strong case for indigenisation of defence grade drones by mentioning their demand, tactical advantages and risks related to the use of imported components & subsystems. It also highlights salient features of existing Indian defence grade drone programmes and their success. The paper also touches upon some of the challenges for indigenisation roadmap and leaves readers with key questions which needs critical thinking and can be addressed through collaborative efforts of government, industry and academia.

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