HomeIndian DefenceIndian Navy Plans deployment of UAVs and UCAVs on its LPDs

Indian Navy Plans deployment of UAVs and UCAVs on its LPDs

The Indian Navy is exploring significant modifications to the design of its Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) to align with evolving warfare strategies and harness the potential of integrating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), and uncrewed fighter jets into its operational capabilities.

Indian Navy Plans deployment of UAVs and UCAVs on its LPDs

Indian Navy Plans deployment of UAVs and UCAVs on its LPDs

Adapting LPDs for Advanced Warfare

In the year 2021, the Indian Ministry of Defence initiated a request for information (RFI) to procure four LPDs. The RFI outlined the necessity for a “through deck” design capable of hosting a minimum of two heavy-lift helicopters, 12 Special Operations Helicopters, and two NSUAS (Naval Ship-born Unmanned Aerial Systems). Furthermore, it emphasized the LPD’s capability to simultaneously support four Special Ops helicopters, including one NSUAS.

Changing Dynamics: From Helicopters to UAVs

Despite the initial specifications, recent demonstrations have showcased the adaptability of Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) and High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) UAVs for operations on aircraft carriers. In response, the Indian Navy is contemplating integrating similar modifications into its LPD design. This strategic shift underscores the Navy’s recognition of the growing significance of unmanned systems in contemporary warfare.

Advantages of UAVs and UCAVs

The shift towards prioritizing UAVs and UCAVs is driven by the manifold advantages they offer over traditional manned aircraft. These include heightened survivability, reduced operational costs, and the ability to execute missions in high-risk environments. The Indian Navy’s focus on incorporating these capabilities aligns with its overarching strategy of embracing cutting-edge technologies for enhanced operational effectiveness.

Technological Advancements in Naval Strategy

This move towards integrating UAVs and UCAVs into LPDs resonates with the Indian Navy’s broader vision of adopting state-of-the-art technologies. Beyond LPDs, the Navy is also contemplating alterations to its Proposed IAC-II design to seamlessly integrate UAVs and UCAVs. However, the final decision on LPD procurement is likely to be deferred until adequate funds are secured for the envisioned IAC-II.

In conclusion, the Indian Navy’s proactive approach in adapting LPDs for UAVs and UCAVs underscores its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in naval warfare. This strategic evolution is not only a response to the changing dynamics of modern warfare but also a testament to the Navy’s dedication to ensuring a robust and future-ready maritime force.

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