Snow Avalanche study drone by DRDO in Himalayas

To keep a tight vigil on ill-intentions of enemy neighbour Pakistan and ‘friend’ China, Indian Army has decided to reach skies with plans of procuring more than 50 high-tech Unmanned Artificial Vehicle. The Indian Army has formally kicked off a Rs. 4500 crores mega purchase plan of short-range UAVs for deployment in the difficult Himalayan terrain to keep tabs on the slightest of movement by foreign forces.

The Request For Information states that the Indian Ministry of Defence intends to procure Short Range Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for the Indian Defence Forces.

“The RPAS are proposed to be developed and manufactured by the Indian industry under an appropriate category of the DPP. The project would be based on proven or matured technologies where fundamental research is not required. The development and manufacture of the equipment could also be undertaken by Indian Industry / Consortia,” according to the RFI document published on Thursday.

The tender will be a huge opportunity for Indian defence players namely Kalyani, Rolta, Tata Advanced Systems, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Defence etc. Make in India contracts are key in defence procurements as a national security concern.

The tentative date of issue of RFP is January 2018. Total quantities required are approximately sixty. Short Range RPAS along with associated payloads and Ground Support Equipment (GSE). The equipment is planned to be procured in a phased manner, the desired quantity should be delivered within 24 months from the day of signing the contract.

The tender document speaks about technical specification of high-altitude UAV drones. As per the RFI, The UAVs are intended to be used for aerial surveillance over a large area by day and night for a sustained period. It should have a range of 200 km and must be operational at an altitude of 15,000 feet. The UAV must have an operational capacity of more than 10 hours.

The UAV must have electro-optical and infrared (IR) capacities with the ability to listen in to communications. It must also have synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for imagery during adverse weather conditions and maritime patrol radar (MPR). During the flight, it should be able to identify a “friend or foe”, the requirement says.

These short-ranged RPAS drones can fly low at altitudes above 10,000 meters to dodge enemy radars during the aerial survey. Such drones are also useful to locate accurate infiltration movement and surgical strikes. The request of quotation for UAV procurement is expected in the month of January 2018. Four Nishant UAV, procured in 2011 are already in operation at India’s borders. In addition, Indian Army has also accepted a tender order of Made in India 600 mini-UAV at cost of Rs.950 crores. India’s eyes in the skies procurements are intended to maintain peace in South East Asia.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni

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