India: ‘UAV proves ineffective in anti-Maoist operations’

[Highly touted as the solution for Indian counter-insurgency operations against an elusive Maoist rebel force, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving to be as unreliable as other forms of surveillance; they’re never in the right place, and they can’t see through trees nor discern fighters from farmers.  As this article points out, these Israeli drones came with exaggerated claims and high price tags, but “‘It is …  a fact that the available UAV has become a white elephant,’ credible sources in the state police told TOI.” — Frontlines ed.]
Srinath Vudali, TNNJun 3, 2013

HYDERABAD: The much-hyped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving ineffective in tracking the Maoists in the Andhra-Odisha and Andhra-Chhattisgarh borders. Intelligence officials claim that the drones have become a white elephant as the UAVs stationed miles away in Hyderabad hardly come handy in locating the movement of the Maoists after attacks in the thick forests on the border areas.

The UAV, operated by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) from the Begumpet airport, is meant to be used for anti-Maoist intelligence gathering in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The information gathered by the drone is meant to be shared with various security agencies.

starkheron-300x110 However, it is learnt that after the recent ambush on Congress leaders in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, in which the Maoists killed 28 people, the UAV was of little use in locating the retreating Maoists. A decision has been taken now to relocate the UAV from Hyderabad to Bhilai in Chhattisgarh. State police officials said Andhra Pradesh would get another drone at a later stage as a replacement.

When the proposal of deploying the Israeli-made UAVs for anti-Maoist operations was first mooted, officials of various agencies felt it would be useful in tracking the extremists even during night time. “It is a fact that the UAV can be deployed to gather intelligence after an attack to quickly locate the retreating naxalites. Besides capturing images, it is also capable of picking up voices. It is also a fact that the available UAV has become a white elephant,” credible sources in the state police told TOI. Continue reading

Israel to Deploy Unmanned Aircraft in North Iraq

The Israeli army has stepped up its military activities in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region and is planning to station a number of unmanned aircraft in the area in northern Iraq in cooperation with the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Four of the aircraft will be stationed at the Khalidiyah airbase in the northern oil city of Kirkuk and two others will go to the airport in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh governorate.

Israeli intelligence agents and military advisers, equipped with special transmission devices, are also being sent to Mosul to train security forces in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Continue reading