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The efficacy of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as an early warning mechanism against enemy sneaking in aboard hijacked or rogue vessels was demonstrated during Exercise Gemini-2, the second edition of integrated coastal defence drill for Kerala and Lakshadweep in India.
According to the Hindu the Israel aerospace industries (IAI) Heron and Searcher UAVs of the Navy’s air squadron No. 342 based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi took to the skies relentlessly, picking out at least a few suspect vessels on each flight and alerting the defense forces to the threat.
“They proved quite useful in searching for rogue boats, which made it easy for us to instruct interceptor boats on patrol to check them out,” said a Navy officer. “Given the flight safety restrictions imposed by commercial aviation, they couldn’t be flown at high altitudes. But they did a good job,” he said.
While the highs and lows of the drill, conducted periodically to review security mechanism, can only be found out after a thorough debriefing, Gemini-2 showcased the near-impenetrability of the region’s coastal security armor, characterized by a robust network of static coastal sensors, surveillance data relayed by the UAVs and Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters on watch, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine police.