The CRPF is purchasing more than a dozen defence manufactured UAVs and a number of mine protected troop carriers to aid and guide ground patrols of the force conducting anti-Naxal operations.
The country's largest paramilitary, thick in action against the Maoists, has decided to make these big ticket purchases from indigenous defence establishments like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
The decision to purchase from indigenous defence establishments has been made with a view to fast-track the purchases and get an early delivery of these sophisticated machines as compared to the timeline of foreign vendors and global purchases.
Sources said the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will get almost 15 'Nishant' Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and more than three dozen OFB Kolkata made counter-landmine vehicles which protect troops from hidden mines.
"Both the machines coming from the defence stable are aimed to get the troops a better operational preparedness in the Naxal terrain and also save our men from the deadly landmines planted clandestinely beneath the tracks in Naxal-hit areas," a senior official said.
The CRPF, which has deployed close to 85,000 personnel for anti-Naxal operations, at present is flying UAVs in Maoist zones in order to give its foot soldiers an advanced view of the jungle terrain and indicate possible movement of armed Maoist cadres with the help of the 'Netra' mini-UAVs.
The force now will use the bigger UAV 'Nishant' developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO and used by the Indian Army.
The 'Nishant' can undertake day and night missions using advance payloads and has a command link and digital downlink.
It is compact and easily deployable system and can undertake day and night battlefield reconnaissance, surveillance and target tracking. The machine has an endurance capacity of four-and-a-half hours and it achieves maximum speed of 185km per hour.
The OFB manufactured mine-protected troop carrier, the CRPF thinks, will give an enhanced security to its troops who have been killed in earlier variants after explosives as high as 80kgs was blasted beneath these mammoth armoured machines tossing the vehicle in air, killing and maiming many personnel out in the jungles.
The force is aiming to purchase close to 40 such landmine protected vehicles for its battalions in Naxal areas and the Kolkata based OFB has agreed to supply these machines which promise better ergonomics and enhanced resistance to IED and explosives blast under the hull or tyres of the machine.
"The manufacturers wanted the CRPF to give a substantial order so that they can activate their production lines for these machines quickly. This assurance has been already conveyed," the official added.
The latest UAVs, once inducted into the CRPF stable, will be based in a squadron formation in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra and they will undertake sorties from multiple locations on a requirement basis, sources said.