I have a good story about this. This meaning use of helicopters for UAV. In the story I am suitably modifying the names of places, pilots, aircraft, controllers, formations etc for no reason what so ever.
Back in 2002, post Op Parakram, things slowly limped back to normal until the ceasefire was agreed to, which was also abnormal in a way.
Those days, somewhere in northern sector, namely Jammu, I was posted in a Mi 17 unit. Among other things, my unit was tasked to man helicopter ORP (Operational Readiness Platform) for UAV incursions from Pakistan to India. Just before I had come in to the unit, one of our unit helicopter had come face to face with a Paki UAV. As it happened, without any weapons, all one can do is formation flying and that is what this helicopter did. Soon, the Paki radar picked up the MI 17 and the UAV turned and flew back in to Pakistan. Our helicopter too came back. Back on ground, the Captain of the aircraft got some solid firing from one and all -
"You idiot, you let it go?
"What could I have done?
"Why didn't you throw something at it, your gunner (loadmaster) could have done it?
"What could I have thrown?
"Your briefcase maybe?
"But my briefcase had my overnight kit"
for a long time.
But, the story doesn't end here. As the wise ones say - never laugh at others, it may happen to _______
So, one year plus later, the poor soul who had done formation flying with a Paki UAV was long posted out and folks had forgotten about the incident. Most of the unit was out flying. It was around 1600 hrs. Amos (Code name)and me were hanging around waiting to call it a day and hit the bar (Bravo Alpha Romeo). Just then the phone rang - the red one. The one which should not ring. I was the junior so I dived for the phone. Peacock (another code name) literally shouted from the other side -"ORP launch". I recognised the voice from the radar unit and said " Peacock - we are not on ORP today". Peacock said " You want me to tell that to the Makkhan (codename for Paki UAV)" and I replied "Are you sure it is not Ghee (codename for Indian UAV)" Peacock said " Will you bloody launch".
07 minutes was ORP activation time if one was on ORP; we found an aircraft, got the ground crew and got airborne in 09 minutes when we were not on ORP. Not bad, not bad at all. Except, we were unarmed. Both Amos and me were very sure that we would not see anything as on so many other occasions. You see, the Paki radars would pick up the Mi 17 on take off from Jammu and their UAV's would turn back in to their airspace.
Anyways, this time our radar controller, Peacock, vectored us into the sunset, i.e. due West straight towards the IB. We were below 1000 ft planning a zoom climb close to 'Makkhan'. Suddenly, I saw something and I shouted "Cobra". Amos, started peering all around "What, snake in cockpit?" and I said "No you genius - Huey Cobra, 12 O'Clock, 02 Kms, same level". Amos was on controls and the turn he executed would shame a TACDE HCL. And as we were turning, I saw the Huey do the same and high tail it as fast as he could.
"Peacock, confirm vectoring us to Makkhan?" "Ofcourse, why have you turned?" "Peacock, request urgent meeting at Bravo Alpha Romeo, 1900 hrs sharp. Everythings on you." "Err .... but ... okkk"
And we came back - the whole welcome committee was there - CO, COO, Stn Cdr, Radar CO, Flt Cdr, STO, Security Offr, etc, etc. And the CO let us have it:
CO "WTF happened?"
Amos "I don't know, but there was a Cobra"
CO "WTF, Cobra?"
Me " Huey Cobra"
CO"Are you sure it was not a flock of birds?"
CO "So why did you not go after it"
Amos "And do what"
Me "And Sir, we would have crossed the International Border"
CO "And you might have won an Ashok Chakra ..."
Stn Cdr "Or not"
Flt Cdr" For now, go to my office, write down a written warning for failing to carry out duties and sign them"
CO "Flt Cdr, march these two bloody jokers up tomorrow to my office" and then they all went
P.S.: That idiot Peacock is yet to keep his appointment at Bravo Alpha Romeo.
P.P.S.: Peacock had indeed vectored us to a flock of birds, which is not so rare. What is very rare that the Paki radar controller had vectored its helicopter to the same flock of bird thinking it was an Indian UAV, or so we guessed.
P.P.P.S.: I am positive that even the Paki was unarmed though, today I am not positive that it was a Huey Cobra.