Project Cheetah: A New Defence Outlook?
By: Shubhangi Mishra
The defence forces of India have always been a symbol of impeccable bravery and courage. Ever since independence, the Indian defense has only grown. It has managed to incorporate technology and manpower in the most impressive way possible. The growth and development in the armed forces have helped India achieve an eminent position amongst the defense forces all over the world. The sincerity and dedication of the troops make every Indian feel extremely proud.
Project Cheetah is a step towards yet another glorious achievement of the army. As the tensions with China continued to rise, the Indian Armed Forces decided to revive Project Cheetah. It had been kept on hold for quite some time and India saw this as an opportunity to propose a new project that would strengthen the tri-services even more. The plan is to integrate combat drones which will help in doing the same jobs such as spying and snooping as the soldiers did and also reduce the chances of risking the lives of the troops. The project is likely to cost more than 10,000 crores. The Indian Air Force has decided to join hands with Israel’s major defense manufacturer, Israeli Aircraft Industry.
Under the project, around 90 Heron drones of the weaponry are to be overhauled with laser-guided bombs, air propelled hostile to tank guided rockets and air to the ground against tank guided rockets. The proposal of reviving the project has been sent to the newly formed high-level defence ministry committee and will be headed by Ajay Kumar. The Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a medium-altitude UAV and can carry up to 250 kg of weight including a thermographic camera, airborne ground surveillance visible light, radar systems, etc. They will be specifically manufactured in Israel. The Heron UAV is capable of returning to base autonomously in case of lost communication. This will contribute in situations that involve communication with places that are tedious to reach or establish transmission with. The project is being launched to upgrade the drones that are carrying out offensive operations against the enemies especially in the borders. The upgrades would also enable the IAF ground station handlers to operate these aircraft from far-off distances and control them through the satellite communication systems. Ajay Kumar, in charge of all capital procurements for the three defence services, and the newly formed high-level defence ministry will be undertaking all operations related to this project.
As the border tensions get worse, the government is using these drones to verify disengagement by China and learn about their troop pattern. In all, the revival of this project is being considered an asset for the Indian army as this will remind terrorist organizations all around the world of the potential of our nation and how strongly we stand against terrorism. The addition of technology to the defence force has been gradual but over time the investment in world-class artillery and better equipment has helped the fleets achieve remarkable glory. With the adoption of tech-savvy methods and provision of such upgrades, India is proving its ability to be efficient. By deploying these drones, we will be able to replace the need for having soldiers posted there, which would further help us in better utilisation of the troops for other urgent matters.
These missiles would also help in specific elimination of targets with none or minimal collateral damage. Since they are to be mostly used for snooping purposes, this will also help in significantly reducing the terrorist activities. They can be put to use for locating terrorist hideouts in Kashmir, which are often unreachable by the ground forces. America has constantly been blowing up terrorists through the use of advanced weapons like drones. Following in the footsteps, now India also plans on using them as a killer weapon. These drones can help in gathering accurate information about suspected launch pads. Further, they can even help in attacking and returning by causing more damage than the troops.
This project has been due for quite a while now and the government is also thinking of involving Indian agencies like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. This will provide a better insight to the government on the technical aspects of this project. Many believe that this was a long-needed viable decision and that the army will now undergo another necessary upgrade. It is very important to include more technologically advanced projects in our defence systems. In order to become more prepared in taking down any sort of entity that means harm to our nation, we must expect more similar changes in the future. The appropriate use of high tech has favoured us in the past and will hopefully continue to do so in the future.