Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now

You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.


Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

How military drones are becoming deadly weapons across the globe

In recent years,UAV) or drones can now be programmed to destroy things remotely.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 23, 2019, 10.20 AM IST
India's Harop Defence drone
Something once equivalent of a do-it-yourself kit was enough to blow up half of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output on September 14. The 18 low-cost drones (along with cruise missiles), supposedly deployed by Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack the Saudi oil facilities, caused oil prices to jump more than 10 per cent in a day.

In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones that used to improve our daily lives with logistics and mapping support can now be programmed to destroy things remotely. What makes them lethal and effective for warfare are advancements in video-camera techniques, precision operations with improved GPS, stealth operations and faster speed. In fact, capability improvements can be seen from India’s own drone procurement and manufacturing.

Back in the 1990s, the Indian Army bought Israeli drones for recce and surveillance. But this year, an order was placed for more than 50 Harop attack drones from Israel. Meanwhile, state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and a clutch of private Indian companies are making drones and developing UAV technologies.

ALL About Military Drone
The software is like an auto pilot linked to onboard motors, propellers, payload activators and weapons


Security, surveillance, attack

Iran Shahed_agencies
Iran's Shahed-129 and Qasef-1 drones

Mach* 0.18 (222 kmph)-
Mach 1 (1,234 kmph)
*Ratio of a drone’s speed to speed of sound


Rs 50 lakh+

China drone
China's Wing Loong 1

Run On

Lithium polymer batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, jet fuel

Drones Faster Than Sound?

Companies are developing hypersonic weapons — missiles that can dodge air defence system by flying up to five times faster than sound. Thus, combat drones moving at hypersonic speeds (beyond Mach 5) could bypass detection systems making them more lethal


India's Harop Defence

India has a fleet of around 100 drones and it plans to add 54 Harop attack drones from Israel to enhance unmanned warfare capability. These drones have electro-optical sensors to loiter over high-value military targets like surveillance bases and radar stations before attacking them.

Project Rustom

DRDO is developing MALE drones that can travel at 200 kmph and fly at altitudes of 6,000-10,000 feet

India's Harop Defence drone


MALE or Medium Altitude Long Endurance drone:
Can fly up to an altitude of 30,000 feet and travel over 200 km

HALE or High Altitude Long Endurance drone:
Can go beyond 30,000 feet and has a range of a few thousand

Israel drone

Flying Business

Likely size of Indian UAV market by 2021
$886 million

Estimated global size of market by 2021
$21 billion

Global market for drone applications by 2020
$100 billion

No. of drones operating illegally in India before 2018 rules

No. of Indian firms in drone business
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times Business News App for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.

Other useful Links

Follow us on

Download et app

Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service