Monday 16 May 2022, 11:10 AM
Indian industry enter into drone business
By BDK Bureau | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 5/27/2019 6:31:28 PM
Indian industry enter into drone business

Changes in technology in monitoring the enemy or incoming threats by using a drone or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is altering the battle space. UAVs have diverse roles; they can carry weapons, do surveillance, guide missiles, send live video feed and even act as transit communication point between two units.

Over the next decade, Indian armed forces need some 3,000 unmanned aerial platforms, both armed and unarmed. As new roles get assigned and New Delhi’s foot print gets expanded, the UAVs fill will provide pin-point intelligence, and ability to provide deadly strike capability.

The public sector and also the Indian private sector are taken well to enter into this business. Well established business houses like the Adani, Tata, Mahindra in the private sector have have tie-ups with international firms to make UAVs in India. The public sector led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is advancing with its UAV Rustom.

The MALE UAV: The Ministry of Defence (MoD), is considering procurement of MALE-category UAV. This will be under the “Make in India” initiative from Indian Companies. The DRDO’s Rustom II is a MALE category UAV and in the running to be one of the UAV’s to be inducted. The DRDO has been test-flying the UAVs.  Adani defence  has tied up with Elbit and have a facility at Hyderabad to roll out the first Hermes 900 UAV this month. This is for an order of the Israeli armed forces. The same platform has been offered to the MoD. 

Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has set up a design, development and production facility to manufacture a range of UAVs from basic surveillance capabilities weighing a few hundred grams to larger models that have advanced capabilities.

Minis UAVs:  Some 1500 mini UAVs are needed. The Indian Army proposes to equip UAVs down to the battalion level, while the Air Force plans to have fully operational squadrons of surveillance UAVs. The Navy has its need that need to ship deck based. In this segment The Adani-Elbit combine has the ‘Skylark’.  Tata Aerospace has another tie –up and is offering its drone.

Local entrepruners, Cyient Solutions and Systems (CSS), a joint venture between Cyient  Ltd and BlueBird Aero Systems, Israel, today launched its latest offering, the ‘WanderB’ Vertical Take-Off & Landing (VTOL) UAV.  This UAV is designed for technologically advanced solution for military, peacekeeping, low-intensity conflict resolution, law enforcement, disaster management, and commercial applications.  It combines the advantages of fixed-wing operation with vertical take-off and landing.

Bangalore based Kinetix has an MoU with Australian company Air Affairs to make the Phoenix target drone.  It is also make parts for solar power drone and another programme for aerial target systems.Apart from this the Indian Navy and Coast Guard want 50 ship-borne mini UAVs for  monitoring sea lines of communications, search and rescue and anti-piracy roles. These UAVs coupled with the predator can incrementally add to capacities of maritime patrol aircraft like the P-8I and ASW helicopters at sea.

The Boeing  that sources some US $ 1 Billion worth of  items from India is a contender. The company already has established to India development of parts and sub-parts of its products. The Boeing UAV can be ejected and retrieved in small ship decks. Mahindra Aerospace is also a contender it has tie-up with Israeli company ‘Aeronautics’ for naval shipborne UAVs

The specialized Drones :  The armed forces are looking for 100 of the Predator drones – both the armed version and for surveillance --- manufactured by General Atomics of US. It add to India’s maritime surveillance capabilities in the Indian Ocean. The drone can fly for 24 hours without refuelling and operate at 50,000ft altitude (modern passenger aircraft cruise at 35,000-45,000ft).Then there drones that convert into missiles, called the loitering drones. These can be sent up to loiter, the same drone converts itself into a missile to attack specified target as and when desired by ground-based controllers.

With technologies improving ‘loitering drones, ’ also called loitering ammunitions, are now the coveted weapons of militaries. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)  has supplied these, called Harop, to India.  Harop can also be used against suspected ballistic missile sites as missile silos and shelters are opened before firing.

The future:  DRDO also has an independent unmanned surveillance air vehicle on the drawing board, to develop a solar-powered HALE UAV. Then there is the , The UCAV AURA: Its an autonomous unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV), being developed by the DRDO for which the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the design agency. The UCAV will be capable of releasing missiles, bombs and precision-guided munitions.

The programme is in its project definition stage.The design is likely to be a stealthy flying-wing concept aircraft with internal weapons bay and a turbofan engine. The AURA will cruise at medium altitude and will be capable of carrying two or more guided strike weapons with on-board sensors for targeting and weapon guidance.India is looking to have rail-launching system for missiles, bombs and precision guided munitions the AURA will carry.





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