Navy signs contract with BEL for Naval Anti-Drone System (NADS) - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 31 August 2021

Navy signs contract with BEL for Naval Anti-Drone System (NADS)

By Ajai Shukla


The navy signed a contract on Tuesday with defence public sector undertaking (DPSU) Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), for manufacturing the first all-Indian, comprehensive Naval Anti Drone System (NADS).


The NADS, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by BEL, is the first indigenously developed anti-drone system to be inducted into the Indian armed forces.


Even before it was proven by the military in comprehensive trials, the NADS was deployed on the biggest stages: First, for providing security cover to the Republic Day Parade on Jan 26; and then, during the Prime Minister's Independence Day address to the nation from the Red Fort.


The NADS, which offers 360-degree coverage and has both hard kill and soft kill capabilities, was also deployed in Ahmedabad for the Modi-Trump roadshow in February 2020. 


The NADS will be “an effective, all-encompassing counter to the increased drone threat to strategic naval installations,” announced the Ministry  of Defence in a press release after the signing of the contract on Tuesday. 


After the drone attack on Jammu Air Base on June 27, multiple agencies – including the military and the Border Security Force (BSF) – have done a preliminary evaluation of at least six-to-seven indigenous counter – unmanned aerial systems. These include systems offered by three Indian start-ups: Big Bang Boom Solutions, Gurutvaa Systems and iSenses.


The NADS uses sensors on multiple frequencies – including radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors and radio frequency (RF) detectors to detect and jam hostile micro drones. 


In a soft kill, the DRDO’s RF/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) detects the frequency which the drone controller is using. The signals are then jammed, rendering the hostile drone directionless.


The NADS also provides a hard kill option for tackling fast-emerging aerial threats. This involves quickly detecting the micro drones and then physically destroying or damaging the target using a laser-based kill mechanism. Alternatively, automatic weapons (machine guns) integrated with a “fire control system” can physically shoot down the hostile drone.


The NADS comes in both static and mobile versions and both versions will be supplied to the navy within a short time from the signing of contract.


Multiple DRDO laboratories, including the Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bengaluru; Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL), Centre for High Energy Systems and Sciences (CHESS), Hyderabad and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE) Dehradun were involved in making this fully indigenous system. There was close collaboration throughout with the Indian Navy, said the MoD.


The BEL’s units at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Machilipatanam will be involved in productionising the NADS system.


“The BEL is to sign similar contracts with the army and air force also,” said the MoD.

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