Unmanned Aerial / Underwater / Ground Vehicles : News and Updates

Gautam

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#1
From DRDO to BPCL, India’s first underwater drone, EyeROV Tuna, finds many takers

Kerala-based startup develops India's first commercial portable drone that can be used for underwater inspections. Today, the robot comes very handy for location scouting for search and rescue mission, surveillance for the defence sector and for recreational purposes.


By Pranbihanga Borpuzari & Geetha Jayaraman, ET Online | Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 11.54 AM IST

The startup has successfully completed numerous projects like surveying dams for the Kerala State Electricity Board, oil pipeline bridge for BPCL and are working with the Fire and rescue department of Karnataka and Kerala state amongst others.

When the Defence Ministry started the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDex) programme last year, one startup stood out. An underwater robotic drone called EyeROV could spot a crack in the hull of a ship or damage to an oil pipeline and seemed like a great fit for the defence organisations.

iDex was started to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging with innovators and startups to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing the Indian Military. A passion for robotics and to innovate something path-breaking was the driving force behind the development of EyeROV – India’s first commercial underwater robotic drone by two IIT post graduates. It was a match, waiting to happen.


Co-founder of IROV Technologies – Kannappa Palaniappan P was working as an on-board scientist with the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, when he came across a Herculean task to survey the ocean floor and inspect the ship’s hull with an enormous drone weighing a tonne. This got him thinking that when we have the resources to develop a cost efficient satellite like Chandrayan, we can surely develop a portable drone that can be used for underwater inspection, surveillance and for search and rescue operations.

“When Kannappa suggested the idea of developing a simple machine to inspect the ship hull as compared to the many sophisticated bulkier equipment available in the market, we thought of developing a miniature version that can go up to 300 meters,” shares Johns T Mathai, CEO and co-founder, IROV Technologies, who worked in Samsung R&D Institute India and Grey Orange Pvt Ltd before foraying into the entrepreneurial venture.

In 2016, they pitched the idea to the Maker Village in Kochi, Kerala. Mathai says, “The idea got selected for the incubator program and we started working on the initial proof of concept and prototype.”

Finding depth

Their product EyeROV TUNA is India’s first commercial remotely operated underwater drone, which can send real-time video of ships and other underwater structures to help with their repair and maintenance. “The drone can navigate up to a depth of 50 meters to take real-time HD video images to examine underwater, thus eliminating the need for costly and riskier manual inspection by divers,” explains Mathai.

He adds that the rover is very light, which can be easily accessed and controlled with the supporting tether and connected to a laptop or a joystick. “A camera is fitted on the ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to give live video feed of the harsh and critical underwater environment. The drone moves at a speed of two knots, has a 6000 lumens LED lamps and a three hour plus battery life,” says Mathai.

The EyeROV TUNA weighs less than 10 kg and can be used to inspect ship hulls, ports, dams and nuclear power plants. Talking about the significance of EyeROV, Mathai says, “This product comes very handy for location scouting for search and rescue mission, surveillance for the defence sector and for research sectors like fishery and oil & gas.”

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For a hardware startup finding funding is usually the biggest problem, unlike a software startup states Mathai and adds, “Designing a prototype is way different from designing an actual product. The costing can go exponentially high.”

They developed the first prototype within seven months of inception, but failed because of various reasons. “The water environment is generally very hostile compared to the environment in space. You have various challenges like very high currents, zero visibility, so it is very tough for a normal prototype to survive in such hostile conditions,” points out Mathai.

The company got initial funding from BPCL project Ankur Startup Scheme and Kerala Startup Mission Idea Grant Scheme. They also received their first order from the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Lab under DRDO. “We received the order based on the second prototype. Though the prototype was not as per their requirement, but they gave us the order along with their requirement. Our idea was to develop a commercially viable product and since there was a demand for the same we had an advantage. That propelled us to a great extend.”

A sea of opportunities

Oil and gas industry is another major sector that the company is trying to capture as they have many underwater structures and pipelines that connects the refinery and the dock. “These pipelines and offshore structures are to be inspected on a regular interval for any kind of damages.”

This four year old company has also worked with the Mumbai Port Trust for identifying wreckage of ships. “We used our technology to find out sunken ship near the port. Within 3 days we were able to spot seven wrecked ships in the surrounding, which divers could have taken around a month or so to complete,” expresses Mathai.


Apart from cameras, EyeROV also use sonar technology to inspect the water environment. “The portable micro-class ROV can be used for underwater survey and visual inspection of submerged structures at depths up to 100 meters. We use sonar technology because in India the water bodies are generally very murky and sometimes it is very difficult to capture anything underwater, even in a close range. There are two types of sonar – imaging sonar and side scan sonar. Imaging sonar provides data of what is in-front while the side-scan sonar shows the bottom area.”

The startup has successfully completed numerous projects like surveying dams for the Kerala State Electricity Board, oil pipeline bridge for BPCL and are working with the Fire and rescue department of Karnataka and Kerala state amongst others.

With a specialised data analytics platform, EyeROV aims to spread their wings outside India capturing the global market and compete with the existing products. “Most of the companies that currently operate just collect the data and share it with the client. Generally, these videos are about six to eight hours long. So, it is very difficult for a person to sit and analyse. What we do is, we make the findings into a 3D image or a user intrusive platform where they can click and see. We focus on data analytics and present to the client a user-friendly result. We are also working on image enhancement. We have an expertise in data analytics,” states Mathai.

From DRDO to BPCL, India’s first underwater drone, EyeROV Tuna, finds many takers
 

Gautam

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#2
IDEX challenge under the IAF for remotely piloted aerial vehicle to be used for ordinance delivery was won by a very young start up. This is their product, they seem to be prototyping it now.

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The deployment plan and planned capabilities are great. Hear it from the guy :


The last picture makes me imagine things. Imagine this launcher on a small patrol boat, with proper training and situational awareness, the Navy can wreak havoc with this. Good stuff from the start up, hope they succeed.
 

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#4
Robots to help Indian Army fight terror in Kashmir

2 min read . Updated: 13 Nov 2019, 08:42 PM IST
By Sumit Kumar Singh, IANS
  • During cordon-and-search-operations in the Valley, these robots will be the first line of defence, thus helping prevent casualties
  • The ministry has on November 19 called the Indian industries to make representations of their products about robotics surveillance
View attachment 11327
Pic : DRDO Daksh Warrior(RUDRA) UGV prototype.

NEW DELHI : From helping in cordon-and-search ops, negotiating obstacles to lobbing grenades at terrorists holed up in buildings, the Indian Army will soon have robots to help it in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Ministry of Defence has started the process of procuring around 550 robotics surveillance units with minimum 25 years of service life for counter-insurgency ops in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said on Wednesday.

A senior Indian Army officer told IANS that these robots should be capable of climbing stairs and negotiating obstacles apart from throwing grenades at terrorists in built-up areas. "These robots should be capable enough for water fording with minimum 20-cm depth," the officer said.

During cordon-and-search-operations in the Valley, these robots will be the first line of defence, thus helping prevent casualties. "This would avoid casualty to our own troops during initial breach by terrorists," the officer said.

The ministry has on November 19 called the Indian industries to make representations of their products about robotics surveillance. The ministry is pushing for indigenization to reduce dependence on imports of defence items.

The ministry has initiated the process of procuring on request of the Directorate General of Rashtriya Rifles, the country's premier counterinsurgency force raised on October 1, 1990 when militancy in Jammu and Kahmir was at its peak and the local law enforcement and paramilitary agencies were unable to contain it. The force is exclusively engaged in counter-terror operations in the Valley.

The officer also stated that the robotics surveillance will have the "provision of realtime intelligence inputs for Rashtriya Rifles operations in residential and commercial areas where terrorists are holed up". The force would use these robots in built-up areas -- residential and commercial areas -- for also gathering realtime intelligence inputs prior to movement of troops.

Rashtriya Rifles is also looking for precise delivery of suitable munition through robotics platform during counter-insurgency operations. "The platform must be capable of delivering a suitable munition at the intended target, for example, throwing grenade at places where the terrorists are holed up," the officer said.

These robotics surveillance platforms will comprise a launch unit, surveillance camera to provide input in both day and night mode and transmission system, with range between 150 meters and 200 meters.

"Interestingly, it will help in dynamic realtime monitoring of terrorist activities during operations," the officer said.

Further, it should be light-weight, rugged and portable and at the same time, shockproof to withstand firing or attacks from terrorists.

"It should also transmit visual data to a distance of abut 150-200 meters across four walls, facility to rotate 360 degrees and pan and tilt," the officer added.

Robots to help Indian Army fight terror in Kashmir
Remember the Army's recent turn to armed UGV ? This has been a long time coming. In fact DRDO has already built multiple prototypes of potentially armed UGVs. They also roped in various private companies in these projects, sort of like the ATAGS. The UGV is unlikely to be a one-size-fit-all solution for all terrains/missions. So the Army might go for a light and a heavy UGV, though I am not sure we have money for both. We might end up buying just one, the cheapest one.

In any case, here are two UGVs designed by DRDO manufactured by L&T Defence :
IMG_20180414_104811(1).jpg


The manipulator arm of the one on the left can easily be replaced by a light machine gun or a grenade launcher. The one on the left is a mystery to me. Look at those wheels though, cool.:love: Send this one to the moon already.
 

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#5
Remember the Army's recent turn to armed UGV ? This has been a long time coming. In fact DRDO has already built multiple prototypes of potentially armed UGVs. They also roped in various private companies in these projects, sort of like the ATAGS. The UGV is unlikely to be a one-size-fit-all solution for all terrains/missions. So the Army might go for a light and a heavy UGV, though I am not sure we have money for both. We might end up buying just one, the cheapest one.

In any case, here are two UGVs designed by DRDO manufactured by L&T Defence :
View attachment 11755

The manipulator arm of the one on the left can easily be replaced by a light machine gun or a grenade launcher. The one on the left is a mystery to me. Look at those wheels though, cool.:love: Send this one to the moon already.
Just remembered L&T also showcased the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle(AUV) Adamya for the Navy. They do seem to be growing a sizable unmanned vehicle fleet, both land and sea based. This is proper forward thinking by them.
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Source :
 

Gautam

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#6
Remember the Army's recent turn to armed UGV ? This has been a long time coming. In fact DRDO has already built multiple prototypes of potentially armed UGVs. They also roped in various private companies in these projects, sort of like the ATAGS. The UGV is unlikely to be a one-size-fit-all solution for all terrains/missions. So the Army might go for a light and a heavy UGV, though I am not sure we have money for both. We might end up buying just one, the cheapest one.

In any case, here are two UGVs designed by DRDO manufactured by L&T Defence :
View attachment 11755

The manipulator arm of the one on the left can easily be replaced by a light machine gun or a grenade launcher. The one on the left is a mystery to me. Look at those wheels though, cool.:love: Send this one to the moon already.
So I was right. These two were chosen as prototypes for Army's UGV requirement. The four-wheeled one on the right is called the "Sentry", the tracked one on the left is called the "Mini-UGV".

Army may soon get robot option for recce ops

By Akhil Kadidal, DHNS, Bengaluru
January 6, 2020
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The ‘Sentry’ robot built by DRDO’s CAIR lab.
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School students examine a Mini-UGV robot built by DRDO's CAIR lab.

Robots on wheels, robots on tracks and robots resembling a ball, not unlike a robotic character seen in the new Star Wars films may soon be rolling out to join Indian Army troops.

For the last three years, Bengaluru-based DRDO lab, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robots (CAIR), has been perfecting four different models of mobile robots designed to infiltrate military and combat zones, map the area and help friendly troops punch their way in.


Two of these models, which were on display at the 107th Indian Science Congress, showed the maturity of the technology. The ‘Sentry’ is a four-wheeled robot which looks almost spider-like with a large central eye and a battery of sensors in front. The unit is designed to probe flat or semi-flat landscapes for the military.

The second machine, called ‘Mini-UGV’ is a squat, tracked robot resembling a large, toy tank designed to infiltrate buildings occupied by terrorists and survey the various floors.


“Both of these models are completely autonomous, which means that if you give them a destination, they will create their own way-points and chart a course to the destination using their inbuilt Artificial Intelligence module,” explained the project director.

He clarified that the ‘Sentry’ is also capable of patrolling a medium-sized perimeter constantly for as long as the battery held a charge. The maximum battery endurance of both machines is about four hours, scientists clarified.

Both systems use a battery of sensors, including GPS, 360-degree cameras and an infrared sensor.

The other model of robot, which was not displayed, is said to be a robot ball (called “ballbot”) which could be dropped by the mini-UGV across the various floors of a terrorist-held building, which would then be controlled by an operator from a remote location.

The operational doctrine has already been formulated for all the robots. “Eight of these various robots are designed to operate as a team. Each robot has something that we call “multi-agent collaboration.’ This means they can talk to each other,” explained another scientist involved in the project.

“The last class of machine is a larger reconnaissance ground vehicle which again has autonomous capabilities,” the senior scientist said. The DRDO said both machines have completed testing and are ready to be deployed. DRDO officials, however, would not comment about whether the Indian military had expressed interest in the inventions.

Army may soon get robot option for recce ops
 

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#7
@Ashwin @nair @randomradio @_Anonymous_ @vingensys @BMD @hellbent et al.

I can't be sure but there was am internal competition between various engineering/research institutes to win a DRDO funded competition for a flapping wing mini/micro drone or a "ornithopter". Many renowned institutes participated including :

National Design & Research Forum with their "300MM FLAPPER" in the mini drone category :
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and the "125MM FLAPPING WING MAV" in the micro drone category :
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IIT Madras and a few other institutes designed the following :
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The idea was to use the same basic airframe for both the micro and mini drones with just a difference in scale and internal mechanics. The mini drone was to use this mechanism :
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.........and the micro was to use this :
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IIT-Kanpur won the competition and DRDO's funding for the project with the following designs :

This one is called the MAV :
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And this is the "Cleo" :

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Some videos of MAV :




Of Cleo including earlier models :



Check his youtube channel for more videos. The best thing(for me) is that the guy designing the drones is from my state. I can tell from the language. This just makes me so happy.:)
 

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#8
@Ashwin @nair @randomradio @_Anonymous_ @vingensys @BMD @hellbent et al.

I can't be sure but there was am internal competition between various engineering/research institutes to win a DRDO funded competition for a flapping wing mini/micro drone or a "ornithopter". Many renowned institutes participated including :

National Design & Research Forum with their "300MM FLAPPER" in the mini drone category :
View attachment 12954
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and the "125MM FLAPPING WING MAV" in the micro drone category :
View attachment 12956

IIT Madras and a few other institutes designed the following :
View attachment 12962
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The idea was to use the same basic airframe for both the micro and mini drones with just a difference in scale and internal mechanics. The mini drone was to use this mechanism :
View attachment 12959

.........and the micro was to use this :
View attachment 12958

IIT-Kanpur won the competition and DRDO's funding for the project with the following designs :

This one is called the MAV :
View attachment 12963

And this is the "Cleo" :
View attachment 12910

Some videos of MAV :




Of Cleo including earlier models :



Check his youtube channel for more videos. The best thing(for me) is that the guy designing the drones is from my state. I can tell from the language. This just makes me so happy.:)
Nice work to collect and post it

I knew about this flapping wing thing ( blue colour) , it's is many years olds
I think you will find it in the iitk website where they had the glider torpedo plus PDFs released over the years.

But the others you posted are new to me

I suspect over the years the design grew in maturity and now being exploited for real life use
 

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#9
@Gautam

If possible try to find info on "hybrid air water ballistic missile" project
It was under preliminary research stage when i found about it

But have no clue to actually what it is , i sudpect it is under PMO same as exoskeleton which was on the list also
 

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#12
Which institute was developing it ?
No idea

It was clubbed under advance projects like
Exoskeleton
Powered jetpack
Blue laser communications
Quantum communications
Quantum encryption
Etc
Etc

All of these afaik are now under direct PMO control , there was a rejig few months back where among other posts , one post under NSA was created to acquire futuristic technologies or something to that effect
 

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#13
Remember HAL-IIT Kanpur's helicopter drone flown on 3rd Aug 2018 :

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The press release said : The RUAV has a 2-stroke petrol engine, twin blade main rotor and tail rotor, payload capability of 2.5Kg including live stream video camera and range of the vehicle is 8-10 Km with an endurance of one hour.


The project has been on for a few years. Some early photos :

Engine test :
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Rotor hub design :
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Assembled main rotor :
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Early full prototype :
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After some modifications :
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It was sent to Leh for high altitude cold weather testing :
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IIT-K has recently purchased a helo drone from Japanese company Hirobo then they stripped it apart, they seem to be experimenting with it to see what is already available in the market :
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Gautam

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#14
@hellbent posted these pics on D. F. I.
Bharat drone systems is an Indian drone making/marketing company founded by ex-servicemen. They have R&D facilities in Australia and US.
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This I believe is the UAVOS UVH170 drone that they are marketing in India. Its not their own development.
Spec sheet :
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This is another drone they are marketing :
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Mortar fired drone.:eek:Bloody Brilliant.
Specs on the poster behind :
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They also have a drone with turboprop engine in development. It has rail/drop launch capability for weapons. :
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Here is what another drone maker is up to :
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Another one :
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#15
Mortar fired drone.:eek:Bloody Brilliant.
Specs on the poster behind :
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I saw a couple variations of mortar launched/tube-launched suicide UAVs during my time working for Kongsberg. Pretty cool concept. basically low cost expendable long-range mortar rounds. Cheaper on average then rocket assisted or GPS/laser guided mortar shells. Nice for bridging the gap between rocket artillery or ground launched loitering munitions (GL-SDB) and traditional gun mortars.

My personal favorite small tube-launched UAVs are 40mm suicide AUVs launched from any UBGL.





Imagine a GMG or Mk 19 packing a belt of theseo_O!
 

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#16
I saw a couple variations of mortar launched/tube-launched suicide UAVs during my time working for Kongsberg. Pretty cool concept. basically low cost expendable long-range mortar rounds. Cheaper on average then rocket assisted or GPS/laser guided mortar shells. Nice for bridging the gap between rocket artillery or ground launched loitering munitions (GL-SDB) and traditional gun mortars.

My personal favorite small tube-launched UAVs are 40mm suicide AUVs launched from any UBGL.
Does the NATO use any of those yet ?
We don't have guided mortars or loitering munitions so this can be very useful to us.
 
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#17
Does the NATO use any of those yet ?
Laser and GPS guided mortar shells, able to hit moving vehicles at ranges of up to 12km have been in service with NATO militaries for almost two decades now. The American XM395 can hit within 2.2 meters and the Swedish Pansarsprängvinggranat m/94 is just as accurate. Most of these are larger 120mm shells.

Switchblade, a tube launched UAV and Coyote, tube or aerial through sonobuoy ejector racks, have been used extensively in Afghanistan by US and allied forces.



Poland has been one of the key drivers in NATO, introducing a number of low cost suicide UAVs including Dragonfly, which has been used operationally in Afghanistan by Polish SF. It's not tube-launched, but is a man portable loitering munition. Basically a 40mm grenade mated to a quad-copter.

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In one form of another expendable tube-launched UAVs, loitering munitions and guided mortar shells have been in NATO service for a number of years now. Smaller systems are currently being developed for use on man-portable launchers like 81mm mortars and UBGLs. India isn't too far behind in that regard.
 
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#18
Indo-Israeli JV to Manufacture Loitering Munition

Our Bureau, 11:10 AM, January 29, 2020

Israeli UVision Air announced a joint venture with Indian Aditya Precitech to manufacture loitering munitions under the brand PALM (Precision Attack Loitering Munition) Hero Systems.

The JV, called AVision will explore various opportunities in India for Loitering Munitions Systems including the design, manufacture, sales, maintenance, support, upgrading, and lifecycle management. The partners will also maintain a supply of spare parts for the warranty and post-warranty periods for current and future versions of the smart munitions systems.

Commenting on the Joint Venture, Shane Cohen, VP Sales & Marketing at UVision and AVision Board Member, said, “We are very pleased to have partnered with Aditya, a highly respected company with extensive experience as development partner for many of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO) most important projects”

Regarding this partnership, Aditya’s representative and Avision’s CEO, Col. (ret.) Anil Yadav, remarked, “We look forward to producing the full range of loitering munitions, which will be offered to India’s military, paramilitary forces as an effective response to multiple threats with minimal collateral damage.”

IndoIsraeli JV to Manufacture Loitering Munition
 

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#19
HAL to make advanced armed UAVs with Israeli Co

By Manu Pubby, ET Bureau | Last Updated: Feb 03, 2020, 08.43 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: In a first, advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) will be manufactured in India, with leading aeronautical entity Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) set to formalise a partnership with an Israeli firm that specializes in autonomous weaponry.

The advanced Heron TP, which belongs to the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class with an endurance of over 36 hours, will be manufactured to cater both to Indian requirements for a combat UAV and possibly exports to third nations in the future as well.

HAL is set to sign a partnership pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the upcoming DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow this week, with estimates that in the Indian market alone, there is a requirement of at least 100 drones of this type. The Heron TP is an advanced version of the Heron UAVs that are currently in service with the three forces in a reconnaissance role.



HAL, which is India’s leading aeronautical company, is looking ahead to commence full production of the armed drones, its chairman and managing director R Madhavan confirmed to ET.

Details of the weaponry onboard are still not clear as the choice of payload is usually left to the user, which in this case would be the three armed forces. Given the flexibility displayed by Israel in joint collaborations in the past, Indian air-to-ground weapons could be integrated with the Heron TPs.

Once finalized, this would be the second range of Israeli UAVs to be made in India, with a joint plant by an Adani-Elbit combine also producing the unarmed Hermes 900 class of drones for export orders from Hyderabad.

The HAL chairman also told ET that the company is actively working on another project for a 200 kg class rotor wing UAV, which among other tasks, will be useful for dropping supplies to troops posted at high altitude areas like the Siachen glacier.

The under development UAV—work on sensors, payloads and other data links has been outsourced to institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology—is being designed specially to carry a 40 kg payload to high altitude areas.

This would drastically cut down supply time for vital loads like medicine and food that are currently transported by mules and are prone to high risk, given severe weather and the dangers of avalanches that have claimed numerous lives. Israel Aerospace Industries, which says that it has conducted business deals in India that totalled close to $ 5 billion in the past five years, will be showcasing its capabilities at the DefExpo in Lucknow.

In the past, IAI has sold multiple air defence systems to India, as well as the range of Heron UAVs.

HAL to make advanced armed UAVs with Israeli Co