The Indian Army, on August 31st 2021 inked a contract to procure over a hundred of the Indo-Israeli SkyStriker Loitering Munitions to bolster defence capabilities along the LoC and LAC. SkyStriker, a drone system jointly being manufactured by Elbit Systems and India’s Alpha Design at Bengaluru; is already under production to meet export orders.
As the requirement for drone and counter-drone warfare expands globally, India is improving its drone warfare capabilities along Frontline areas. These drones, as per sources, are capable of carrying 5-10kgs of explosives and staying Airborne for up to 2 hours.
As the name suggests, the function of these drones is to track and hover over their intended target and drop the explosives on it when ordered to. They are often launched from an Automatic Pneumatic Launch Platform, and are capable of travelling close to 20km in less than 10 minutes. The drone has a top speed close to 100 Knots, and a range of 100km.
SkyStriker is equipped with state of the art autonomous navigation systems, which allow it to maintain peak performance at both cruising and loitering phases. Coupled with an electric propulsion system, SkyStriker would be very difficult to detect when performing low altitude covert missions.
SkyStriker also comes with some additional features, which can enable it to engage and disengage targets, even at times when the drone is 2 seconds close to the impact and can engage with shallow and steep Angles of Attack (AoA).
The system showed its potency during the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh conflict when Azerbaijan armed forces employed these systems effectively against Armenian targets, which included Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).