The Eastern Command of the Indian Army today began a new chapter as it inducted its Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), initially manned by its Artillery Regiment crew, into the Army Aviation Wing.
With the dimension of battlefields changing over time with the advent of new-age technologies, military warfare is now no longer restricted to its conventional form but has evolved itself with the growing threats where intelligence gathering, be it on land, air or water, has gained primary importance. Mission plans are now designed based on the inputs gathered through digital reconnaissance.
The Regiment of Artillery, as per information provided by the Eastern Command, had first inducted the RPAS in 1999 which eventually took shape as the state of the art intelligence, surveillance and recce system. Serving in several missions of the army, its role was instrumental in military operations.
The training of the first-ever RPAS group happened in Israel in 1998 and subsequently, the pilots of the system, under the Artillery Regiment, achieved many successes in terms of operations and inspired successive pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“It was due to the very nature of the equipment that these machines and its crew have silently been the ‘Eye-in-the-Sky’, in the true spirit of Intelligence and Surveillance gathering,” said a defence official. In the Eastern Theatre, the first unmanned flight took off in the year 2009, and today Eastern Command is distinct in terms of possessing the lion’s share of RPA assets and crew, said Lt Col PR Deb, observer pilot, CQFI, in his statement.
Today, the RPAS and its operating crew were inducted into the Army Aviation Wing. Indian Artillery Officers, who had been crew to this system, and who for years had nurtured the passion for flying these magnificent machines, would also step into the folds of the Army Aviation along with their aircraft.
It was pointed out that the present concepts of joint operation by army, navy and the air force was already conceptualized by the School of Artillery through its first indigenous RPAS course in 2004 and later for personnel from tri-services in 2019, and the All-Arms Courses for Army Aviation and the Corps of Intelligence from 2019 onwards.
The Eastern Command said, “The passion of these UAV pilots would now be passed on to Indian Army Aviation, with a conviction that what the current crew and their predecessors had toiled hard for, and what was so lovingly nurtured, would flourish and emerge as the cutting edge of military operations in future.”