As India prepares to celebrate its 75th Independence Day on August 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has instructed all security agencies to be extra vigilant about a possible drone attack. Meanwhile, Delhi’s Red Fort, from where the prime minister of India hoists the national flag and addresses the public, will receive “360-degree” anti-drone coverage in the form of rooftop watchers and skilled marksmen authorized to shoot down any drone approaching the restricted airspace.
To handle threats from sub-conventional aerial platforms such as drones, paragliders, microlight aircraft, hot air balloons, etc., the MHA has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs). The order details the preventive measures that police personnel can take if a flying object tries to land near the ramparts of the Red Fort.
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Anti-drone training for India’s Independence Day
According to the MHA orders, if a drone or any other unauthorized flying object approaches a sensitive area, rooftop watchers will wave a red flag to draw its attention. At the same time, a loud hailer such as a megaphone would be used to instruct the drone to land at a safe distance away from the sensitive area. If the drone fails to comply, it would be shot down.
A police officer tells Hindu newspaper:
We have identified the buildings near Red Fort where policemen with long-range weapons will be deployed to shoot down any flying object approaching restricted space.
Counter-drone systems to combat Red Fort attack threat
It’s worth noting that, last year, an anti-drone system developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was deployed at the Red Fort. Officials had then said that this system was capable of detecting and jamming micro drones up to 3 km and using a laser device to bring down a target up to 1-2.5 km. This year, the number of such counter-drone systems at the Red Fort is reportedly being increased to four.
At the same time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is also expected to operate a special drone control room to combat any distressing incident during the pivotal celebration. The IAF will be responsible to distinguish between “friendly” and “unknown” airborne objects and initiate appropriate “tactical action” to destroy the object once it’s declared “hostile”, the SOP reads.
Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India has declared that the Red Fort will remain shut for the public from the morning of July 21 until the Independence Day celebrations come to an end on August 15.
Read more: What do India’s new drone rules mean for the commercial UAS industry?
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