Army to deploy robots to ‘fight terror’ in Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi: The Indian Army may soon deploy robots, capable of dropping ammunition at specific intended locations, to ‘fight terrorism’ in Kashmir.

An army proposal, projecting a requirement of 544 robots, has been approved by the defence ministry, paving the way for the indigenous development of such machines, army officials said.

“The way the situation is evolving (in J&K), 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 said.

The Rashtriya Rifles or RR is a branch of the Indian Army under the authority of the Indian Ministry of Defence. The RR is a counter-insurgency force made up of soldiers deputed from other parts of the Indian Army. “These robotic surveillance platforms can be extensively used by the RR forces…for gathering real-time input prior to manual insertion,” says an army note.

The “lightweight and rugged” robots will consist of several subsystems such as surveillance cameras and transmission systems with a range of 200 metres. The army’s requirements state that the robots should be able to “deliver suitable ammunition…e.g. stun grenade.”

The approval for the robotic surveillance platform has been granted under the ‘Make’ category of acquisition in the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 that lays down that only Indian vendors are eligible for the projects.

The army has also factored in the possibility of two or more teams operating jointly in a target area. “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 adds.

The force has been using a locally-produced remotely operated vehicle, Daksh, for handling improvised explosive devices. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Daksh can climb stairs, has three-hour endurance on battery, can be operated with remote within a range of 500 metres and can lift 20 kg loads.

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