Top 5 drone-trends in defence for 2021

It’s safe to say that small, mini and micro drones have been the standout (or high-flying) tech within the defence sector in 2020. The year 2021 would see further strengthening of certain drone trends, over and above the current levels. Here’s a look at the top 5 drone-trends that would be the highlight in defence circles – 2021.

 

Modernization and agility – UAVs for every battalion

India has pledged around $130 billion in investment for the modernization of their forces (over the next 5 6o 7 years). We have discussed this quite a lot in the past few months. This drive towards military modernization would shift-gears and move to the ‘fast-lane’ in 2021.

The army would look to arm every battalion with credible, reliable, manageable, manoeuvrable and portable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This process is already underway. The transformation, once this UAV-procurement drive is complete, would be stark and definitive.

No longer would a battalion wait for key and actionable (drone-enabled) intel from relevant theatre commands. They would be able to gather live intelligence about their surroundings using their dedicated drones. This would boost the agility and responsiveness of each troop.

It would also help further secure the Line of Control. ideaForge drones are equipped with AI-ready imaging which auto-detects movement and anomalies. This would further help detect camouflaged tunnels or covert insurgents at the relevant battalion level.

Indigenous drone technology – ‘Make in India’

Even before we went one-on-one with Covid-19, India has pushed it’s Make in India initiative across sectors. This was more prominent within the defence department. Now, with the pandemic-induced trade and movement restrictions, the need for class-leading indigenous drones has once again taken centre stage.

It’s a testament of India’s tech empowerment that this ‘need’ stood fulfilled even before it became a discussion. ideaForge has, for over a decade, built and perfected its drones to high military specs. It’s pioneering and benchmarking drones beat all other competitors by some distance. These indigenous drones weren’t the situational choice, but the thoroughly qualified primary choice.

Herein, indigenous drone technology, as a concept and an endeavour, would continue to dominate the talks for the next few years.

Hard-testing and large-scale procurements

Transparency, accountability, application and results have underlined all defence (and other) procurement initiatives in the country. The year 2021 would (incorporating the aforementioned traits) see major and large-scale drone tech procurement. This is in line with the modernization drive.

Furthermore, these procurement processes would be backed by hard testing and trials through the toughest of conditions. Only the best of the best drones would qualify. These drones would go on to dominate the critical LOC airspace for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) purposes (in 2021 and beyond).

It’s important that these drones, which would represent the country’s ISR, are durable, available, reliable, manageable, manoeuvrable and portable. These high-endurance mission-critical drones would be able to perform optimally at:

  •       high-altitudes;
  •       across all-terrain;
  •       in diverse climatic conditions;
  •       across temperature variations (from -20°C to +50°C); etc.

Drone delivery – Precision supply and drop

‘Drones for package delivery’ is a much-talked-about concept. 2021 would see multiple on-ground applications, for the same, all over the world.  On these lines, many countries, including India, are pushing for progressive drone regulations.

The next few years would see major advancements in precision supply and drop. ideaForge drones has already taken benchmarking steps in this direction. Its lightweight drones have high carrying capacities. They are also primed with AI-enabled anti-collision technology. This helps them automatically detect and avoid obstacles in their path.

The defence industry would look for feasible and dependable options for essential and medical deliveries. A previous study showed that 25% of fatalities to uniformed personnel could have been avoided if the right equipment was available on point. Drones can ensure that the equipment like Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and other aid items can be dropped at the needed location in time. This would help save many lives.

Securing protected air-space with drones

It would be prudent, here, to highlight the importance of indigenous drone technology. Countries with strong ‘home-grown’ drones would hold the edge in securing their air-space against (possible) enemy drones.

Drone-enabled counter-intelligence and surveillance would help check any illegal or suspicious activity within critical and protected air-spaces. ideaForge drones are field-ready with such AI-abilities. The future (2021 and beyond) would see an escalation of such drone tech to outperform the enemy’s capabilities.

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