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Indian Army Inducts Logistics Drones to Replace Animal Transport Fleet

The Indian Army has begun fielding logistics drones to replace its fleet of surefooted mules for transporting military supplies.

For over a century, the service has been utilizing the sturdiness of mules in bringing crucial loads to forward border posts with no proper roads or tracks.

The progressive induction of logistics drones is part of the army’s “force restructuring and optimization” efforts to reduce manpower by around 100,000 personnel by 2027, according to a report by The Times of India.

Besides drones, the service will deploy robotic mules and all-terrain vehicles to deliver supplies through treacherous routes and under extreme weather conditions.

Retiring Animal Transport Fleet

The Indian Army plans to disband its entire animal transport fleet by 2025.

So far, it has reduced the number of its so-called “mountain artillery mules” by 1,500.

Over 3,300 “general service mules” will be retired by decade’s end. These mules transport rations, fuel, water, and ammunition.

Upon retirement, the mules are expected to receive commendation cards for their service with the Indian military.

Drone Procurement

The Indian Army has already awarded contracts worth 320 crore Indian rupee ($38.5 million) for 563 logistics drones, The Times of India reported.

The unmanned systems must be able to carry loads in high-altitude areas of over 12,000 feet (3,657 meters).

“Such drones can carry out last-mile delivery to troops deployed along the borders,” a source told the outlet. “They will reduce the need for soldiers and porters as well as animal transport companies to carry supplies and ammunition.”

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