The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of the first batch of indigenous ALS-50 Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Loitering Munitions, made by Tata Advanced Systems LImited (TASL).
ALS-50 has earlier successfully demonstrated its ability to strike targets during tests at Pokhran. The system was able to hit the designated ground target accurately during trials. It had also demonstrated its ability to operate from high-altitude areas during trials in Ladakh last this year.
These VTOL loitering munitions have the ability to take off and land vertically. This will allow the user to operate the system from areas with limited space, like narrow valleys in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal.
"ALS being indigenously developed, is adapted to the wide variety of Indian terrain and weather conditions," TASL said and is capable to defeating targets at ranges of over 50 kilometres, TASL added.
After takeoff, the system transitions into fixed wing mode and flies to its target. It is equipped with an autonomous targeting system, which allows it to identify its pre-designated target and home into it.
The operator can get real-time video of the area, thus making it suitable for surveillance role, as well. The ALS-50 has an accuracy of less than 2 metre making it suitable for precision strikes on soft-skinned targets.
It also has multiple built-in failsafe features, which ensures the "system can be aborted after launch, recovered, and made to re-attack the same or a different target", TASL adds.
In addition to the ALS-50 VTOL loitering munitions, the Indian Army has also recently awarded a contract to Solar Industries Nagpur for their Nagastra-1 loitering munition. The Solar Industries Nagpur won the contract beating out competitiors from Israel and Poland.
The Nagastra-1 is also capable of precision strikes on various soft-skinned targets using its pre-fragmented high-explosive warhead. The munition carries a day-and-night camera for surveillance as well.
Earlier, the Indian Army became one of the first major armies of the world to induct SWARM drones. These SWARM drones were delivered to the Army by a Bengaluru-based start-up, NewSpace Research, which delivered the drones in february, on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.
With the induction of these Loitering Munitions and SWARM drones, India is making significant step towards bolstering India's defence capabilities.
With the deployment of such advanced technologies, India is rapidly catching up to China in terms of military might. The successful development and deployment of these indigenous systems are a testament to the growing prowess of the Indian private sector in the field of defence manufacturing.
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