NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy plans to test its indigenous Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) post-monsoon. This will add up to the indigenous systems being added by the Navy with the support of domestic organisations.“ The first test of the USV will be post-monsoon, somewhere between September and November when the vessel will sail from Goa to Mumbai,” said a defence source. Initially, it will test the basic parameters, sources added.
Such USVs – also called drone boats – drew attention during the Ukraine conflict when in October 2022, the Ukrainian navy attacked Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula. They had deployed seven unmanned surface vessels (USVs) which were packed with ordinance and missiles. Later, in March and April, two more attacks were initiated on the Russian assets. Though all three attempts were repelled by the Russian Navy, they were enough to announce the arrival of USVs.
The maritime forces of the US, UK, China and France are working on more such unmanned systems — Naval Unmanned Aerial Systems (NUAS) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). The Navy’s Weapons and Electronics Systems Engineering Establishment has indigenously designed and developed three types of Software-Defined Radios (SDRs) – SDR NC, SDR-Tac (tactical) – and SDR-NG, while the fourth one is in the developmental stage and expected to undergo its testing phase by next year.
The SDR Naval Combat has been fitted in all Navy warships and is reportedly functioning well. The Navy entered into a contract to procure this device from Bharat Electronics Limited in 2021. The deal is worth over Rs 1,000 crore. The SDR-Tac is a four-channel multi-mode, multi-band, 19-inch rack-mountable, ship-borne software-defined radio system. The WESSE director general, Rear Admiral Ankur Sharma, said: “It is intended to serve ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and ship-to-air voice-data communication for network-centric operations.