India’s first kamikaze drone developed; 5,000 units can be made in 2-3 yrs

Armed forces have already ordered 24 of these suicide drones, to be supplied in 2024


‘Suicide’ or ‘kamikaze’ drones or loitering aerial munitions (LAM) are assuming a larger than life image in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict underlining its tremendous potential to be the veritable game-changer in modern day warfare.

What makes this weapon a sure killer is the capability to patiently loiter over a target area for a long period of time until the target is located. The major advantage is that it has precision-targeting capability and also to change targets mid-flight or even abort the mission. 

Spurred by a flourishing military production ecosystem that has come up in India, a 13-year-old Indian defence systems manufacturing company—Kadet Defence Systems (P) in collaboration with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)—has developed the country first Loitering Aerial Munitions (LAM) for the armed forces.

Multiple versions of the indigenously designed, developed and India-manufactured LAM systems are being developed to meet different operational requirements with its weight varying from 15 kg to 120 kg with explosives payload of 2 to 40 kg.

The biggest version of the drone can loiter for about 12 hours.

These systems have been made adaptable to various terrains, including deserts, plains, and high-altitude environments, with a remarkable launch altitude capability exceeding 5,000 meters.

They can be shoulder launched or vehicle launched while future plans are to develop the air-launched version.

A Kadet official told THE WEEK: “The range of the LAM extends from 150 km to 300 km with a rocket-assisted canister launch and a runway independent hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system.”

What is really significant is the sheer capability of the product. 

A Kadet release said: “The LAM systems encompass a diverse array of cutting-edge technologies, including Canister Aerial Loitering Munition (CALM), Combat UAVs with stand-off capabilities for munition release, Tactical VTOL UAVs, and a versatile mix of systems capable of swarming and manned-unmanned teaming operations.”

While the company has already inked a contract for the delivery of over 50 such systems in 2024, it can scale up production to deliver an estimated 5,000 within the next 2-3 years.

The market size of LAMs in India is estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore.


Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp