HYDERABAD: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone is likely to be pressed into service in the Visakha agency and the border districts of the state to help in intelligence gathering on a real-time basis. The UAV base will be set up at Madurapuddi near Rajahmundry.
A senior official of Special Intelligence Branch (SIB), an elite anti-Maoist wing, told TOI that, about two months back, a UAV was used on an experimental basis in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Chhattisgarh and the results were positive enough for the drone to be introduced in anti-Maoist operations. Over the last few months, Maoists have stepped up their activities in the Visakha agency and in Vizianagaram.
“Already, the UAV has been tested in Warangal and certain districts of Chhattisgarh… It can be operationalised any day,” an intelligence officer said. The UAV, sponsored by the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) and procured at a cost of Rs 30 crore, might be used in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh but will have its base in Madurapuddi. “Our role is to mainly provide infrastructure for the setting up of the UAV base in Madurapuddi. However, Andhra Pradesh police has no direct role in the operation of the UAV since states which want to use it have to put in a request to the MHA,” sources said.
The UAV helps capture images even in dense forest areas and relays them in real-time to the base for security forces to be speedily mobilised.
Intelligence officials said that the UAV would be used during operations in Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Visakhapatnam and the Andhra-Orissa Border.