Indian Army to get over 100 ‘SkyStriker’ drones for Balakot-type missions

Skystriker
Image: Elbit Systems

Indian Army contracted a deal for 100 explosive-laden SkyStriker drones, also known as sky strikers. Indian Army has signed this Rs One hundred Crores worth deal using its emergency procurement powers. Bengaluru-based Alpha Design-led joint venture and Israel-based Elbit security system (ELSEC) would make and supply the skystrikers.

These drones will play the role of force multipliers like in Balakot missions. Skystriker Drone will be used as loitering motion- loitering munition, also known as suicide drone.
It is a category of munition which loiters for some time around the target searching and hits when the target is located. As per the info provided on the Elbit system’s website, Skystriker is a cost-efficient drone with long-range precision strikes capability.

Skystriker also tops in situational awareness, survivability, and performance. Its performance and other quality can be enhanced when its direct-fire aerial precision capabilities are controlled by maneuverable troops harness. It crashes into the target, so it refers to a suicide drone.

Suicide drones like Skystriker can carry up to 5 kg explosives inside the fuselage.
They are autonomous systems capable of locating, acquiring, and hitting the operator-designated target. Minimum acoustic signature and flying at low altitude capability make it a perfect surprise attacker in covert operations.

Col (retd) HS Shankar, CMD, Alpha Design, told a Reputed Newspaper that ” After loading location details onto the drone before launch, it will hover around the area, will pick up the target, relay back the information back to the ground control equipment, and will strike only after getting clearance.” further adding he said Drone’s target can be changed post-launch and can be called off in case mission has to be aborted. Alpha-Elbit Joint Venture has exported 100 such drones and is ready to fulfill 100 more orders. The alpha design has 51% ownership in the joint venture.

Apart from the Indian Army, last week, the Indian Airforce has also two defense contracts with Alpha designs. One of the contracts is to procure six Very High-Frequency Radars, The old P18 radars were to be updated, but instead, IAF decided to buy new ones with the exact cost.

Expression of interest (EOI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued by the Indian airforce in response. Several defense companies like PSU BEL, Alpha Design, Astra Microwave, And data patterns showed interest. and Alpha Designs bid the lowest and bagged the 200+ crore Contract

The second contract procured by the Alpha, BEL, and Data Patterns from the Indian Air Force is the 60 IFF system or Friend or Foe system identification. Its technology was developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) now it will be transferred to these three firms.