The Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) intends to procure hundreds of loitering munitions according to separate requirements announced in October – November 2022. These munitions will be procured even as the two services have announced their intention to procure thousands of various unmanned aerial vehicles from Indian vendors for surveillance and logistics roles.
In early October, the MoD released a request for information (RfI) seeking to procure 50 – 100 Medium Range Loitering Munitions (MRLM). The MRLM should be capable of striking soft skinned tactical targets. The munition should have EO/IR sensors and capability to strike targets at ranges of over 150 km.
The Indian Army would procure 10 sets of Aerial Targeting System (Extended Range) along with 120 loitering munitions for its artillery units. A request for proposals (RfP) release specifies a range of over 100 km with an 8 kg warhead and an endurance of two hours. The EO payload equipped munition would be capable of target discrimination under day and night conditions. The munition would be launched from a 4×4 truck.
Following an RfI released in April, the Army has launched an RfP to procure 180 Canister Launched Loiter Munitions (CALM) for mechanised infantry units. 180 munitions would be procured, accompanied by 45 man portable ground control systems, simulators and training munitions. CALM would have a range of up to 15 km and will be equipped with a 500mm RHA HEAT warhead to engage enemy armour. The top attack capable munition may weigh up to 25 kg.
While the RfI indicated that CALM is intended for the BMP-2 based Carrier Mortar Tracked (CMT) of the Army, the RfP indicated it will be used on stock BMP-2Ks as well as T-72 and T-90 tanks. BMP-2s by AVANI have already been tested with AVision PALM-120 loitering munitions.
Procurement of such loitering munitions by the Indian armed forces would add to their old inventory of Harop munitions, as well as newer acquisitions such as the Skystriker and Warmate munitions. Multiple other loitering munition requirements are in various stages of procurement.