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Drones: A Changing Dimension in the Conflict of War

Niranjan Bhombe

Rajshekhar Hariharan

27 January 2023

"Drones are known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that are meant to cover a specific route or distance. They can be automated...."

A Brief Introduction of Drones

.....or remotely piloted vehicles and fly for a longer period of time with a controlled speed. The first of these kind were developed by Britain and USA during the World War I. A small radio controlled aircraft was first tested in 1917 by the British, while the Americans had the Aerial Torpedo known as Kettering Bug that took its first flight in 1918. Though both tested but never took part in the war. The main purposes of these vehicles are reconnaissance and surveillance.

Drones mainly gained prominence during the times of Cold war, where it was able to accurately provide adequate intelligence in conflict prone areas. According to the analysts they are the future of warfare exempting from the conventional frontal engagements.


Instances where Drones had an Upper hand over Conventional Warfare



A 44 day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan was dominated throughout by the drones, which completely changed the dimensions of conflict in the war. The drone base Azerbaijan had, owned the battlefield and portrayed the future of warfare.

Drones used by Azerbaijan were BAYRAKTAR TB2 of the Turkish origin and Israeli KAMEKAZI which was utilized as a Suicidal Drone. The impact that these made was detrimental in terms of devastation and damage. In total there were 186 tanks, 45 armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), 44 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), 147 Towed Artillery guns, 19 Self-Propelled Artillery guns, 72 Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs), 12 Radars, which were destroyed by 264 Azerbaijanis drones.


A very powerful military leader of the Middle East from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Force, Iran was assassinated at 0100HRS on 3rd of January 2020. The Assassination was done by the 3rd Missile fired by the MQ-9 Predator drone outside the Baghdad Airport along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhadis, Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Committee.


Other Instances

1) On 4 February 2002, an MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile at three men, standing near a known mujahedeen base at Zhawar Kili, Afghanistan, killing them. This killing occurred without any face-to-face contact between the adversaries.

2) More than a decade later, in January 2018, Russian operators manning the extensive Air Defence (AD) network at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in western Syria spotted 13 incoming drones at low level. It was clear to the Russians that they were witnessing a new genre of a collaborative drone attack. This failed attack on Khmeimim was disturbing to close observers of drone warfare as the first recorded instance of a mass-drone attack by “non-state actors”.

3) In the early hours of 27 June 2021, two explosive-laden Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) crashed into the Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Jammu in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).This is the first time that UAVs have been used to strike a vital military installation in Bharat.The drones had finally arrived at India’s doorstep.


Bharat’s Position in Gelling with the Drone Warfare

The Current government is well advanced in anticipating the upcoming war scenarios and the changing modes of warfare. There are well defined rules and regulations in context to the usage of drones as they are used for other purposes as well. The Global market for drones is forecasted to be grown to 30 Billion$ by 2025 and Bharat is going to be one of the major contributors in it. There are categories of drones classified into Nano (<=250Grams), Micro (250 Grams – 2Kg), Small (2kg – 25Kg), Medium (25kg – 150 Kg), Large (>150 Kg). In Bharat if a drone has to be operated there are some mandatory requirements like GPS, RETURN-TO-HOME (RTH), ANTI-COLLISION LIGHT, ID PLATE, A FLIGHT CONTROLLER WITH FLIGHT DATA LOGGING CAPABILITY, RF ID AND SIM/NO PERMISSION NO TAKEOFF (NPNT). The regulating body for the drones to be operated is Digital Sky from the DGCA, where the above mentioned due diligence is done.

From the Combat Drones perspective Bharat has Israel Originated Heron, Searcher, Harpy and DRDO’s developed Rustom H which are used for reconnaissance and have been deployed at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LOC).

In addition to this there has been innovation in anti-drone tactical strategies like Arjun, the eagle which is trained and skilled by the Indian Army for hunting down drones. The Bharat troops showcased Arjun’s skills during the India-US war exercise between Bharat and US troops, Yuddh Bayes, in Uttarakhand's Auli.

As the bird soars into the sky fitted with a camera mounted on its head, there is a handler monitoring the flight. So the target, a quad copter, is locked and taken down.  

In the overall scenario, it is evident that currently Bharat is ready for any art of war may it being conventional or non-conventional specifically in context to the drones. The kind of resilience and management the Government has displayed in terms of categorizing, classifying and regulating is invincible. Also the concept of Atma-Nirbhar Bharat is playing a vital role in Innovation of new tactics regarding Drone and Anti-Drone Warfare.







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