India is looking to bolster its armed forces with potent and armed drones, which have in the last few years become an extremely crucial part of the arsenal of many countries.
As part of the plan to add more firepower, Indian Army is looking at Precision Attack Loitering Munition (PALM) 400, a long range, high precision loitering munition system with low acoustic, optical and thermal signature that can identify, track and hit stationary and moving targets.
The PALM 400 drone can locate targets with pinpoint accuracy and minimal damage. Such a drone, when used in mountain warfare, can tip the battle in India’s favour. With PALM 400 in its arsenal, the Indian Army will enjoy a significant advantage over the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Pakistani forces in the mountainous regions as well the Thar desert in Rajasthan.
What are PALM 400 drones?
A PALM 400 drone is built to fly over areas where armoured vehicles are concentrated or are anticipated. Each PALM 400 selects its targets when armoured vehicles enter the kill zone and launches an armour-piercing projectile, penetrating it from the top where there is least protection.
The Indian Army tested PALM 400 in the high altitude areas of Sikkim in mid February. The drones were launched from a height of 18,000 feet, hovered at 19,500 feet, and then fired a thermobaric warhead that struck a target eight kilometres away. It can discharge from a canister and fly 3000-4000 feet above a kill zone for up to 120 minutes.
It has a range of more than 100 km and travels at a speed of 50 to 140 knots (90 to 260 km/h).
Dual electro-optical/infrared stabilised cameras are used to detect and engage targets both during the day and at night. Due to its advanced homing powers, the PALM 400 drone can track and target both stationary and moving targets. It uses advanced mechanisms to perform operations in all terrains and situations.
It uses complex navigational techniques that enable it to function even in environments where the GPS, which serves as the system’s navigation backbone for the majority of missile systems, has been disabled. Trials so far have demonstrated that its design enables exceptional manoeuvrability and has a mid-air abort capability that enables automatic re-entry into the loitering mode, re-engagement, and return to the recovery location by means of a parachute.
It has demonstrated during tests the ability to loiter above a target in a stealth mode, collect information, and immediately strike at time-sensitive threats. With specially created warheads to handle various kinds of targets.