New Delhi: In a bid to maintain fighting edge over arch rival Pakistan and to counter an expansionist China, the Indian Air Force is soon going to have a separate cadre for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
As per a report in The Times of India, these would include the combat versions (UCAVs), missiles, air defence and other weapon systems. The report said that the proposal was being vetted by the Air Headquarters and were being considered with changing threat perceptions.
If the proposal goes through then at the time of recruitment, candidates would be selected for these specific cadres. The IAF has been inducting bulk of the over 200 UAVs and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) acquired by the Indian armed forces since 2000.
The IAF Training Command reportedly asked for a separate UAV cadre in 2012. The Daily quoted sources as saying that the proposal had now been expanded to a ‘weapon systems branch’. This would include drones, air defence missiles and other weapons systems.
As of now they are headed by officers from the flying branch. Also, the IAF is in the midst of expanding its UAV fleet and has begun inducting micro-drones for its Garud Commando Force.