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Indian Air Force Inducts Indigenous ALS-50 Kamikaze Drone

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has officially welcomed into service its new domestically-built loitering munition dubbed the ALS-50.

Developed by the Mumbai-based Tata Group, the unmanned system is expected to enhance the service’s precision strike capability on complex missions.

It features a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability that suits operations in any terrain.

The kamikaze drone boasts versatility and adaptability to effectively engage air defense systems and ground and naval targets.

According to GlobalData associate analyst Harpreet Sidhu, the ALS-50’s design offers ease of operation and reduces the training burden for air force operators.

“The ALS-50’s unique attributes set it apart from other loitering munitions in the market,” he said.

“While it may have a relatively shorter range and endurance compared to some other systems, its affordability, ease of use, and versatility make it an ideal solution for the IAF.”

Supporting Modernization

The induction of a new loitering munition demonstrates the IAF’s support in boosting the local defense industry under the “Make in India” initiative.

It signifies a key step in the country’s ongoing military modernization.

GlobalData revealed that the Indian defense industry is advanced enough to develop suicide drones and integrate artificial intelligence.

It can also mature swarm technologies to enable a new level of autonomy in drone operations.

“The procurement of ALS-50 demonstrates India’s dedication to military modernization by attaining self-reliance in defense procurement,” Sidhu explained. “It will help to strengthen India’s air power and deter aggression from its adversaries.”

Influenced by Ukraine War

The effectiveness of loitering munitions in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is said to have influenced many countries to invest in similar systems.

In December last year, a drone attack blamed on Ukraine destroyed an airfield in Russia’s Kursk region.

Moscow has also carried out many drone strikes, including a “massive” attack on the Ukrainian capital that killed a civilian last week.

Growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region involving China have spurred India, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia to bolster drone procurements.

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