Context: The Air Force has received the first indigenously designed and developed loitering munitions.
What is Loitering Munition
- Named the ALS 50, the munition – also known as a suicide drone – has been developed by Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
- The autonomous system is designed for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) and has successfully demonstrated its capability to carry out precision strikes (less than 2 meters) during trials and tests.
- These are capable of operating from all kinds of terrain and high-altitude areas and can take down targets at a range of over 50 km, without exposing any personnel to risk.
- The weapon enables real-time targeting, either by the operator or autonomously and can be scaled up to increase firepower as well as targeting distance.
- VTOL capability gives the system the ability to operate in areas where limited space is available, like narrow valleys, fortified mountain positions, small jungle clearings and the decks of warships.
- Loitering munition can be used to destroy enemy targets that may be beyond line of sight, including high-value targets like command centres and missile launchers, that may be located at a distance.