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The Indian Air Force is considering the creation of a separate cadre for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As per a report in The Times of India, these would include the combat versions (UCAVs), missiles, air defence and other weapon systems. The step is being taken kepping in midn the changing threat perceptions and anticipated future warfare scenarios.
According to the report, the proposal is being vetted by the Air Headquarters. If the proposal goes through then at the time of recruitment, candidates would be selected for these specific cadres just like fighter, transport and helicopter pilots are picked currently.
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The IAF has been inducting the bulk of the over 200 UAVs and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) acquired by the Indian armed forces since 2000. The IAF is also in the midst of expanding its UAV fleet and has begun inducting micro-drones for its Garud Commando Force. The IAF Training Command has reportedly asked for a separate UAV cadre in 2012.
The proposal had now been expanded to a 'weapon systems branch', the report quoted sources as saying. This branch would include drones, air defence missiles and other weapons systems. As of now they are headed by officers from the flying branch.