The Indian Army will reportedly begin using indigenously built robots to fight stone pelters and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. These robots would be capable of delivering ammunition at intended locations.
Army officials told Hindustan Times that the defence ministry has approved a proposal for the requirement of 544 robots, thus, making way for the indigenous development of such machines to fight against terrorism in the state.
The proposal of the Indian Army to adopt robotic security and surveillance indicates that terror in Jammu and Kashmir has spread from jungles and rural areas to urban sectors, which makes it necessary to induct such systems into the armed forces.
"The way the situation is evolving (in Jammu and Kashmir), it may just be a matter of time when security forces as a whole, and Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in particular, will be facing the threat in built-up and super built-up areas," the army was quoted by HT as saying.
The RR is the Indian Army's elite counter-terrorism force that carries out several operations in the state on a daily basis. "These robotic surveillance platforms can be extensively used by the RR forces...for gathering real-time input prior to manual insertion," an army note stated.
The "lightweight and rugged" robots will comprise subsystems like surveillance cameras and transmission systems with a range of 200 metres. According to the Indian Army, the robots should be able to "deliver suitable ammunition...e.g. stun grenade."
The defence ministry's approval has been granted under the 'Make' category of acquisition in the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016, which states that only Indian vendors are eligible for the products.
The army has also considered the possibility of two or more teams operating jointly in a target area, HT reported. "A second unit which can be operated alongside the first unit by a single operator with the same remote (having at least dual display screen) should also form part of the system," the note added.
The Indian Army has been using Dakhsh, a remotely operated vehicle developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, to handle improvised explosive devices. With a three-hour endurance on battery, Daksh can climb stairs and be operated using a remote within 500 metres. It can also lift a load of up to 20 kilograms.