BANGALORE: The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to induct more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones in its fleet for surveillance and reconnaissance on the borders as an effective weapon for deterrence, a senior official said.
"We are ready to induct more drones in view of their capability to perform specific tasks on borders. There is a team in Delhi which is studying our present and future requirements," IAF training command chief Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja told reporters here.
Noting that it was misnomer to call drones UAVs, as they are piloted remotely, Kukreja said there was always a man behind the (flying) machine whether from inside cockpit or outside to operate it.
"As a remotely piloted vehicle, drones are flown at borders for collecting information on adversary and relayed for further action. Though some pilots are being trained to operate UAVs, we can have more of them if the government sanctions additional funds, as there is a cost factor to it," Kukreja said at a briefing on the various activities of the training command in the city.
Admitting that the IAF does value human life as much, the air marshal said in a combat, the man behind the machine should be able to come back even if the machine (aircraft) does not.
The IAF flies the Israeli-made Searcher II and Heron for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. About 100 Searchers are in operation on Indian borders in western, northern and eastern regions.
The air force also operates Lakshya as a towed aerial sub-target for live fire training.
"Acquisition of the latest combat aircraft and warfare systems, including drones and missiles is a continuous process. Though each weapon or system serves a specific task, we cannot overlook the man behind the machine," Kukreja added.