If the Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) has started work on a 100-km-range precision guided stand-off missile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is thinking of using a butterfly-sized micro unmanned air vehicle fitted with a sensor!
What's more, some other labs are also talking about making "smart bombs" equipped with decision-making capability, like distinguishing between a target and a decoy, besides identifying the target by its emission.
Welcome to the emerging world of "futuristic armament techniques," where defence scientists are brainstorming future scenarios in which wars will be fought more with sensors and lasers than conventional weapons.
As director of the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), A Subhananda Rao, while attending a national workshop on futuristic trends in air armament, said, "Gone are the days when pilots carried projectiles to throw at enemy planes.
One German pilot even threw a brick from his plane in an attempt to destroy an enemy aircraft!"
He added, "Although the situation has much changed today as wars are fought with within visual range missiles (WVRs), beyond visual range missiles (BVRs), current trends suggest that for conventional attack missions, precision-guided munitions with high stand-off capabilities are the order of the day."
The fact was corroborated by ARDE director AS Rajagopal, who said, "Air armament is one area that not only has a lot of potential but also challenges."
Rao said, "What we expect in next two decades is the development of WVR missiles with enhanced speed, agility, range, jam-proof seekers and sensors," adding, "Reliability is vital in case of air armaments and needs to be built in the concept design itself.