Drones lose punch in tracking Naxals after long flights
- 12 Israeli made Searcher tactical drones, operated by National Technical Reconnaissance Organisation (NTRO), are used to keep an eye over Maoists infested jungles along the Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh borders.
- These expensive drones are yet to zero in on 100 strong Maoist dens in these jungles
- Remotely piloted drones have to fly a long distance from Begumpet airbase in AP to area of operation in Darba plateau, which rob drones of their hover-time, needed to gather pictures of areas
- A proposal to reallocate drones to DRDO air strip in Jagdalpur, site recent Maoist attack, was earlier rejected by NTRO and Indian Air Force
- NTRO agrees to relocate to Steel Authority of India run airstrip in Bhillai, 250 kms away from Jagdalpur
- Drone fleet yet to move to Bhillai after signing an agreement to that effect in 2012. Lack of facilities for pilots cited as a reason for that.
- Drones are available only 20 days in a month and for a few hours in a day. There is shortage of IAF trained pilots to operate the drones.
- NTRO alleges it has no real-time access to police and IB intelligence.
- National Technical Reconnaissance Organisation (NTRO)
- Left Wing Extremism (LWE)