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Indian Navy commissions second UAV squadron

A Haron UAV flies during the Navy's commissioning of second UAV squadron in Porbandar on Monday. A PTI photo

AHMEDABAD (PTI): The Indian Navy’s second UAV squadron, which consists of Israeli-made Searcher and Heron, was commissioned at the Porbandar naval base on Monday.

The squadron, whose primary objective is to carry out maritime surveys and reconnaissance, was commissioned by Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal.

The development assumes significance as Porbandar, which also houses a naval base and an airstrip, lies in close proximity with Pakistan.

The Indian Navy is among the few elite naval forces to deploy such squadrons for maritime surveillance.

"Each UAV will carry a payload in the form of radar, cameras, communication and intelligence equipments, based on the nature of the aerial survey that is to be carried out across the coast of Gujarat," a Naval spokesperson told PTI.

When the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is airborne, it would be controlled by a controller sitting on the shore, he said, adding that all the data including pictures, sounds, audio and others would be relayed directly to the shore where the control panel is located.

Based on the data sent by the UAV, the Navy would take action after analysing the sensitivity of the matter, he added.

Enumerating the advantages of an UAV, the spokesperson said that it was totally unmanned and did not require frequent refuelling.

"Though we do have ships and aircraft conducting surveillance across the coast, they are all manned and require to come back to shore for fuel," he said.

Once in the air the range of an UAV could be extended by transferring the controls on to a ship in the sea from the shore, he added.

The Navy presently uses a small mix of Israeli Heron and Searcher MK-2 UAVs. It is making efforts to acquire ship-borne unmanned rotor-craft.

Post 26/11 terror attacks, India has taken several measures to strengthen coastal security after terrorists sailed close to the Gujarat coast in a dhow and reached Mumbai to launch multiple attacks on various targets.


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