India and UAVs: That’s the way it’s drone!

New Delhi: India is fast developing into a country that relies heavily on technology to solve problems that plague it. Cementing that fact that India has attained the status numero uno spot in the drone-importing nations, followed by United Kingdom and France.

Now, India’s National Disaster Response Force is using these pilot-less, eyes in the sky, as drones are more popularly known, to help Nepal map the scale of devastation caused by last month’s earthquake.

With 22.5 % the world’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imports between 1985 and 2014, India ranks first among drone-importing nations. UAVs are pilotless aerial vehicles used for reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence gathering and aerial combat missions.

The advantage of UAVs is that they come at a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft with no risk to human lives.

A total of 1,574 UAV transfers have taken place across the world between 1985 and 2014. Of these, 16 are armed UAVs, according to data provided by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent global conflict-research institute.

UAV trade recorded an increase of 137 % between 1985 and 2014.
India’s first UAV delivery came from Israel in 1998. The UK, on the other hand, imported its first UAV in 1972 from Canada. But, Japan was the first country in the world to import a UAV, it got one from the US in 1968.

India’s UAV imports, have almost all been from Israel, according to SIPRI data. Of 176, 108 are Searcher UAVs and 68 are Heron UAVs. Israel is the leading exporter of drones, accounting for 60.7 % 1985 and 2014.

The US, with 23.9 % of UAV exports, ranks second, followed by Canada with 6.4 %. Israel has shipped 783 drones since 1980.

(with agency inputs)


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