Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NSG queues up for Stinger stun gun, ITBP for Nighthawk

Raghvendra Rao

Why kill, when you can capture and get them to sing like Kasab?” reads the advertisement for Stinger — a non-lethal stun gun that appears to have caught the imagination of the country’s top security forces, including the National Security Guard (NSG), at the ongoing Indesec Expo 2009. This sleek gun, which the FBI uses, is actually proving to be quite a head-turner at the Expo.

“Many security agencies, including the NSG, have shown interest in procuring the Stinger,” said Vandit Aneja of Kommlabs Dezign, a Noida-based company promoting this US made gun in India. However, what is acting as a dampener is the fact that India doesn’t have a licensing policy for non-lethal weapons which, in turn, has prevented the introduction of Stinger-like guns, which can incapacitate without actually killing the target, in the country.

Other star attractions at the Indesec Expo are a micro UAV that can be launched from the shoulder to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions in dense forest and vast tracts of inaccessible areas and heavily armoured “bomb and mine-proof” vehicles that can move unhindered in heavily mined areas. Little wonder, India’s security establishment is turning up in droves to see and explore what is on offer in the security bazaar. NSG Director General N P S Aulakh, for one, was seen visiting a host of these stalls on Monday, checking out a variety of security gadgets and equipment on display.

While the NSG is learnt to have shown interest in the Stinger, that could come in handy for the commandos of this elite force during anti-hijack operations, senior officials of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Border Security Force (BSF) and Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) have evinced keen interest in Nighthawk MAV (micro aerial vehicle) that can travel a 10-km distance in an hour’s time, conduct surveillance and reconnaissance activity over a designated area. In fact, sources said the ITBP, which mans the India-China border, is looking to procure at least three Nighthawk MAVs.

“Weighing less than a kilo, the Nighthawk can be launched from the operator’s shoulder,” said Shulin Nishant of MDI Incorporated, the company promoting the Nighthawk, a device that has already elicited queries from the DRDO, the West Bengal Police, the Gujarat Maritime Board and the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Mizoram. Nighthawk, in fact, is now being billed as a device that can be of immense utility in the Naxal-hit areas.

Similarly, Kanpur-based Shri Lakshmi Defence Solutions has lined up three variants of armoured vehicles — the blast and mine-proof vehicle Drona, the fast moving attack vehicle Viper and the armoured troop carrier Dhruv . “We have supplied Drona to the Karnataka Special Task Force and VIPER to the CISF. We have got enquiries from the NSG, the Army and the CRPF,” Shri Lakshmi’s Col (Retd) K R Bhatnagar said. The company is trying hard to sell these vehicles to paramilitary forces engaged in fighting the Naxals. Costing close to Rs 70 lakh per piece, these armoured vehicles are being manufactured at Rahsupur near Kanpur, following a technology transfer from a US-based company.

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