New Delhi: In a first-of-its-kind attack in India, two low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were dropped from a drone at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Jammu, and they exploded “close to the helicopter hangar”, ThePrint has learnt. The explosion did not cause any damage to any equipment, but two IAF personnel received “very minor” injuries.
In a Twitter post, the IAF said two “low intensity explosions” were reported. “One caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area.”
It added that “there was no damage to any equipment. Investigation is in process along with civil agencies”. The IAF did not mention about the drones but did point out that the roof was damaged.
Two low intensity explosions were reported early Sunday morning in the technical area of Jammu Air Force Station. One caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 27, 2021
Sources in the defence and security establishment said the spot of the explosion was much further from the outer perimeter wall of the airport and hence a grenade attack has been ruled out.
The sources said the first explosion occurred around 1.30 am.
According to initial inputs, an IAF patrolling team witnessed the explosive being dropping and rushed to the area. A second was dropped minutes later, which led to very minor injuries to two personnel, the sources said.
It is learnt that both the explosions were of low intensity. However, the explosives were dropped close to the aircraft hangars.
Multiple teams from bomb disposal squad, forensics, IAF, police and security agencies were rushed to the spot.
“Had the IEDs fallen in the helicopter hangar, it would have caused damage. Thankfully, it fell a little away from it,” a source said.
While no fighters are based at the Jammu technical airport, the base has assets like the Mi17 helicopters and transport aircraft.
First drone attack
This is the first incident of a drone-based attack in the country, which had been feared for long within the defence and security establishment.
The attack, even if a minor one, shows the modern day capabilities of launching attack, a source said.
While Pakistan has been using drones for supply of arms and ammunition to terror networks in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir, this is the first time the system has been used to carry out an attack.
The forces are still in the process of acquiring anti-drone technology in large numbers. The Navy had recently gone in for procurement of Israeli anti-drone system “Smash 2000 Plus”.
Israeli firm ‘Smart Shooter’ is also in talks with the two services.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation has also developed an anti-drone system that was deployed at the Red Fort for the Independence Day address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.