Building Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in Sri Lanka


Unmanned aerial vehicles can be built using off the shelf hardware and open source software. The Do It Yourself Drones web-site provides a good overview of the possibilities.  Which beg the question – should UAVs be developed locally to locate terrorist activities?

The Defence ministry web-site has this to say about importing remote controlled flying toys:

Range of Remote Controlled Air Craft/Flying Devices will not be permitted to be imported.

But nothing about building them in Sri Lanka. Building one would no doubt fall into this category. I doubt such regulations have deter a global terrorist group such as the LTTE. They could buy UAVs without the hassle of building their own. Either they havn’t been successful getting UAVs or don’t need them. The Sri Lanka air force clearly prefers to buy their UAVs. I doubt the home built kind can deliver the airstrike videos that have become a staple of the war. 

Which makes me wonder if there is any logic to developing UAVs locally. Not as replacements for SLAF UAVs such as the IAI Scout and RQ-2 Pioneer but for routine surveliance of LTTE controlled areas. Low cost UAVs could be deployed to constantly reconoirter specific areas of LTTE held territory. Acting as cheap spy sattelites. Possible terrorist activities (such as hidden LTTE airstrips) could be quickly and closly followed up with “higher end” drone.

I find it hard to belive that Sri Lanka’s engineering brain power can’t essemble a working model using existing hardware and software. My best guess is that the Sri Lankan military has stable sources of “high tech” gear. Their focus is on fighting a war. Not funding R & D on a third world defence budget. I won’t bother with suppositions and innuendos in the absence of facts. If you know more about such matters the comment box grovels for your insight.

7 comments

  1. There are individuals working on exactly this, with a view to selling the said design to the military. However, these are small unit tactical UAVs that can be deployed by platoons or even naval craft. In the former case the UAV can be hand-launched and used to get images of dug in enemy positions; in the latter case, the UAV can be used with an explosive warhead to target attacking suicide boats.

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  2. you can not run a resturant buying a recipe book.
    so is the case with UAV s you have to go through R&D
    process either you do it or someone do it for you befor you claim an indiginious product. Now i think sri lanka is inching
    to wards indginious development. Lanka logistics & technologies is looking for such posiblity

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  3. i always thought the defence ministry should look into funding some engineering work. btw who is responsible for building all those off-shore patrol boats/ fast attack crafts? they look pretty nifty

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