New Delhi: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones are going to become an important part of India’s offensive and defensive strategies in the coming months as was evident from the combat drones that were part of the “swarm technology” display at the Army Day Parade on 15 January.
The Sunday Guardian spoke to Oleg Vornik, CEO of DroneShield, an Australian publicly listed company, which participated in DefExpo 2020 in India as part of Team Defence Australia. Droneshield, which provides its assets to governments of United States and United Kingdom, among others, is well-known for the products that it provides to mount an offensive as well as defensive moves when it comes to drones which includes hand-held guns to neutralize individual drones and other platforms that can disable a swarm of drones.
To engage with stakeholders in India, Vornik has tied up with an Indian company, M2K technologies. Edited Excerpts:
Q: Considering the situation India is facing on its Western border (Pakistan) and Eastern border (China), what can Droneshield offer to augment India’s capabilities?
A: Drones/UAS are becoming a major part of modern warfare and border conflicts, with rapidly growing technology enabling better and cheaper surveillance and payload delivery using the drone platforms. DroneShield provides solutions that enable awareness of the airspace and response/defeat options, at a highly competitive cost.
We are offering our entire product range to Indian government agencies, from our portable Drone guns and RfPatrols, to our fixed site multi-sensor detect-and-defeat Drone sentry solution. They enable far-reaching detection of hostile drones, coupled with an integrated defeat, and provide extensive and feature rich airspace awareness.
Q: A major concern among Indian policymakers, whenever a decision is to be taken regarding purchasing a new defence or an offensive platform from outside India, is whether the same product is available or is being offered to Pakistan and China. How would you like to address this concern?
A: As an Australian company, DroneShield does not sell to China or Pakistan. There is a strong strategic and military alignment between India and Australia, and DroneShield is pleased to support this relationship.
Q: Multiple domestic and international firms are already active in the Drone market in India. So why should decision makers in India look at Droneshield?
A: DroneShield is the original pioneer in the counterdrone space, and still the best technology on offer, as we continue to invest a substantial amount of R&D to keep our solutions at the cutting edge.
In a summary, our products (a) sense further; (b) have lower false alarm rate; (c) enable an uncluttered/low cognitive burden awareness (you don’t need to be a trained engineer to use our systems, they are simple and intuitive to use, and are designed not to need a dedicated operator–and in fact, can function fully autonomously); (d) are specific for the mission (body worn, vehicle/ship, or fixed site products); (e) are continuously updated (via software updates): (f) are deployed by top militaries and government agencies around the world.
Q: Are Droneshield products being used by armed forces of other countries? If yes, which are these and how have they performed?
A: Yes, the militaries of the US, UK, Australia, France, and number of other countries, use our products.
Q: India is already working to develop “drone swarm’ for offensive actions. And like any other country; it also has to prepare itself against an attack from such “drone swarm”. In this context, does Droneshield have a product/products for such use?
A: Yes, our products can effectively detect and defeat enemy drone swarms. Our product, DroneCannon RW, is a lightweight, soft kill, UAV jamming solution for use on remote weapon stations.
This forces drones (single or swarm attack) into a fail-safe mode where they will either hover or slowly descend. It can defeat UAVs moving at any speed.
Q: Coming to the topic of internal security, the police departments in many Indian states are using drones for crowd management and surveillance. What does Droneshield have to offer to the Indian market for internal use?
A: Our products are used by law enforcement agencies around the world, providing the same high quality air space awareness and defeat of drones used by criminals and other nefarious agents.