Drones Attack Air Force Station In Jammu

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By Sushil Silvano, Our Special Correspondent, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO:

The future of warfare is here for all to see. It marks a paradigm shift in the world of undeclared war: TERRORISM.

Three days after an alert had been sounded that terrorists may carry out drone attacks in Kashmir, two explosions rocked the high-security technical area of Air Force Station Jammu on the intervening night of June 26-27. The explosions took place within a span of five minutes in the early hours of Sunday; the first blast ripped off the roof of a building at 1.37 am while the second one was on the ground at 1.42 am.

While the Unidentified Armed Vehicle(UAV)-mounted explosives used to target the IAF base might be the first direct attack by drones, nefarious sorties by UAV up to 12 kilometres inside India are not unknown.

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It is still unclear whether the UAV came from across the India-Pakistan border or was it guided from a building or an elevated point close to the IAF base in Jammu.

Within 24 hours of this attack, two Drones were spotted over Kaluchak military area. One UAV  was seen flying inside the Army base at 11.45 pm and another at 2.40 am. The two

quadcopters were spotted on a stretch of the Kaluchak-Purmandal road on the Jammu Pathankot national highway. The suspected objects were flying near the Kalucheck military station, a provocation by any standard.

A high alert was sounded immediately and Quick Reaction Teams engaged the drones with firing, Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said in a statement.

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“Both drones flew away. A major threat was thwarted by the alertness and proactive approach of troops,” he said, adding the security forces are on high alert and a search operation is in progress.

In fact, drone sorties are known to have been carried out to drop weapons, drugs, and explosives for quite some time now. Several such instances have been recorded in Jammu and Punjab in the past two-three years — including one just a month ago.

On May 14, the Border Security Force (BSF) detected weapons dropped by a suspected drone from Pakistan in Jammu. Following a tip-off, BSF troops conducted a search operation in the Samba sector and recovered arms and ammunition wrapped in yellow polythene from a field. These included an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol, a magazine round, 15 rounds for a 9 mm weapon, a wooden frame used to attach the payload to the drone, and wrapping material.

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However, while this consignment was recovered about 250 meters from the International Border, the IAF base targeted on June 27 was about 14 km inside Indian territory. Sources said that in the past, security forces have tracked drones dropping weapons as far as 12 km inside the border.

Knowledgeable sources aver that on June 20 last year, the BSF had shot down a drone. They said the hexacopter model was carrying arms and ammunition. It was shot down at Rathua village in Kathy’s district’s Hiranagar sector along the LOC.

According to the BSF, a patrol party from the Pansar border outpost noticed the drone flying at 150-200 ft from Pakistan towards the Indian side around 5.10 am. It fell nearly 250m on the Indian side after the BSF party fired several rounds at it.

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Fitted with four batteries, a radio signal receiver, and two GPS devices, the drone was 8×6.2 ft and weighed 18 kgs. It was carrying a payload of nearly 5 kg, including a US-made M4 semiautomatic carbine, two magazines, 60 rounds, and 7 Chinese grenades.

This incident occurred a few months after Punjab Police claimed to have recovered weapons dropped by Pakistani drones.

In the past few years, an increase in the use of drones for dropping weapons and explosives has been seen.

The Jammu attack is the first instance of drones being used directly for an attack. Quad-hexacopter drones can carry payloads in excess of 14-15 kg. That makes them a serious threat since so many explosives can cause extensive damage,” a security official said.

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In view of this threat perception, the BSF has been pushing the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to procure the latest technology to disable drones.

Surveillance drone flights are very frequent. Sometimes, there are 10-15 sightings every day. But drones carrying loads are a grave threat.

What is the Indian response to the drone threat perception?

Sources say India currently “does not have a proper standard operating procedure for dealing with foreign drones or any detailed guidelines for the operation of domestic drones”.

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These are still early days in drone technology. Is Pakistan trying to draw India out so as to gauge India’s expertise in these ” unmanned” offensives in undeclared warfare?

One thing that has emerged so far is that these drones which are dancing menacingly in Punjab and Kashmir borders are no assemble-at-home toys. They are not products of screwdriver technology. They are quite sophisticated and can only be produced with Computer Aided Technology.

As such, are DRONES the latest addition to the ” terror industry ” nurtured so lovingly by Pakistan under the camouflage of religion?

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Compiled and Curated By Humra Kidwai

 

Sushil Silvano

Mr. Sushil Silvano, our special correspondent is a celebrated veteran Journalist and Author and is currently based in Mumbai, India. He is the National Secretary of the Indian Journalists Union, an affiliate of the "International Federation of Journalists". He strongly believes in developing awareness through the power of Media and has chaired the Mumbai Chapter of Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) and is currently the Chairman of the Lucknow Chapter of PRCI.

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