The CRPF, nodal agency overseeing deployment of security forces for the upcoming assembly elections in five states, has increased the number of UAVs in the Maoist zone of Bastar for round-the-clock surveillance.
About half a dozen UAV Netra, owned by the CRPF, are gathering real-time intelligence across about 40,000 sq km of Bastar region that votes on November 11. These indigenous UAVs can send real-time video of ground movement within a 5-km radius. Besides, the MHA has asked the NTRO, country's elite intelligence agency, to fly UAV Heron whose range — about 400 km — is much more than the UAV Netra.
The Israeli Heron is operated from airbase at Begumpet in Hyderabad. The UAVs will aid planning of operations and deployment of more than 50,000 security forces inducted in Bastar's Maoist heartland for the polls, said a senior officer. The UAVs can play a crucial role in surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region where real-time human intelligence is hard to come by. Grabs sent by the UAVs help the security forces on the ground to monitor Maoist movement and plan precision strike operations in Bastar and also along Chhattisgarh's border with Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.