In the aftermath of the Dantewada massacre of 76 security personnel by the naxals, authorities here have begun night trials of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to equip security forces with real—time information of targets.

The trial held at the grounds of Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College here started on Wednesday and continued till early this morning during which the security experts gauged the machine’s feasibility during temperature variations, at various heights and in detection of landmines.

The UAV known as T—MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) is a compact machine manufactured by ‘Honeywell’ and weighs around 10 kg.

The company claims that its deployment and stowing operations can be accomplished in less than five minutes.

Sources said the services of UAVs, which have been used by U.S. forces to track down Taliban militants, are urgently required as the forces engaged in anti-naxal operations need real-time information to achieve greater success.

The UAVs can go up to a height of 10,000 feet, fly at a speed of 70 km per hour and can provide 240 minutes of sensor imagery to the ground station.

The night—long trial also saw its use in detecting people in pitch dark and dense forests. In certain cases of detecting mines, the UAV could not pick up signals properly and only showed some disturbance on the surface.

The trial attended by officials from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, besides an officer from the Ministry of Home Affairs, put the machine through a rigorous examination and took it to various hilly terrains as well as roads to check for hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using heat sensors.

A company official, while briefing the Central and state representatives, said the machine’s advanced reconnaissance and situational awareness functions would be critical in protecting troops.

With its vertical take off facility, the UAV, already deployed and helping American troops in their fight against Taliban in Afghanistan, can provide advanced reconnaissance, security and surveillance functions for troops on the ground in various operational terrains.

The Government had decided to use the UAV’s following last week’s killing of 76 security personnel so that there was enough technical intelligence gathering, image capturing and detailing of topography of the terrain to the forces going into operations against Left—wing extremists.

Kanker, about 175 km from state capital Raipur, is situated in the North Bastar district and is known for its Jungle Warfare School run by the Army where personnel of paramilitary forces are also trained in guerrilla warfare.