Army Deploys UAVs Along LoC26 August 2011
Srinagar: In view of recent surge in infiltration attempts by militants in Kashmir, Army has deployed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS) along the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir to track the movement of infiltrating militants, sources said. They said the hitech surveillance gadgets helped army in detecting recent infiltration attempt in Gurez. Sources said the UAVs, which usually take off during night, are fitted with sensors and imagers to track the human movement deep inside the LoC zone including the ‘enemy’ territory. “The UAVs are fitted with human movement detection sensors. These fly from army’s aviation base located at Mansbal in North Kashmir every evening . The UAVs move in different directions in Kupwara and Bandipore districts to keep a watchful eye on the LoC. These devices also keep watch on the most preferred infiltration routes of militants,” they said. They said the data obtained from these UAVs is processed and then relayed to the ground troops for actual use in real time. “Since it has been observed that most of infiltration attempts take place during nights, therefore these flights are carried out mostly in night,” they said. Sources said the range of the motion detention and other gadgets fitted to these UAVs can catch the ‘enemy’ movement between the range ranging from 15 kilometers to 30 kilometers besides having a penetration power of 3 to 7 kilometers deep inside the ‘enemy’ territory. While confirming the deployment of UAVs, Defense spokesman Lt Col J S Brar credited these surveillance equipment and other sophisticated gadgets for successfully tracking infiltration bids along the LoC this year. “Yes, UAVS are being used. Infact, UAVs and other surveillance devices including thermal devices, hand held thermal imagers, night vision devices and night vision googles are being used by army to track equipment along the LoC”, Brar told Rising Kashmir. Talking about effectiveness and use of these sophisticated UAVs and other surveillance gadgets in recent encounters along LoC, Brar said, “These devices have definitely helped. It is because of these UAVs and other gadgets that militant movement is tracked in night and operation launched to flush them out”. Army on August 20 claimed to have foiled a major infiltration attempt along LoC by killing 12 militants when they were trying to cross over to this side through Neelam (Kishenganga) river in a pneumatic boat. Refusing to share the specifics of these surveillance equipments, defence spokesman said these hi-tech gadgets have been successfully deployed along the LoC. “We have our surveillance equipment and intelligence network in place. The infiltrators try to sneak by using their own GPS systems. However, our systems are too strong and these gadgets are helping us to prevent infiltrators from sneaking into Kashmir”, Brar said. Defence sources said keeping in view the success rate of the UAVs, army is now extensively using these devices to check infiltration. “The UAVs were used for the first time by army in 2010 for experimental basis. However, they are now being used permanently by army as part of its counter-infiltration strategy,” they said. They said the main focus of the UAVs is to keep track of movements near the Doodhnail, Keil, Tejiya, Jora, Janwai, Solwai, Chikoti, Dulenja, Chamb and Gurji areas of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) that are possibly being used as the launching pads by various militant organizations. “These UAV’s are also being used to keep watch on the traditional but tough tracks used by the militants to enter into Kashmir from Kupwara sector,” they said. Besides putting up a 434-km-long barbed wire fencing along the LoC, the Army has also installed Israel-made sophisticated equipment, surveillance grid in sensitive areas of north Kashmir. The “Surveillance Grid” is the first monitoring system of its kind in South Asia. The grid makes combined use of high-power cameras and thermal sensing cameras to register all movements along the LoC. Defence sources said the addition of UAVs has given boast to army’s capability to prevent infiltration.