Indian Military UAV Procurment Programs

Ashwin

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Imports Iffy, Indian Army Scouts 60 All-Indian Surveillance Drones


Could this be the first true foot in the door for Indian-built military drones? The Indian Army has opened what will hopefully result in a proper contest — for 60 Indian developed and built short range surveillance drones kitted for military airborne surveillance. The prospective competition, Livefist learns, is likely the Army’s recognition that the last five years has thrown up a profusion of private sector Indian firms that have proven the ability to build drone platforms for military missions, and have proven to be substantially cheaper than comparable systems available internationally.

Companies all the way from Tata Advanced Systems and Mahindra Aerospace down to firms fresh out of engineering college incubation have pitched the Army with low-cost platforms that the Army could seriously consider, instead of clambering up the import flagpole again. A flagpole, it should be said, that has failed to supply the Army with anything substantial by way of airborne surveillance in over a decade.
The contest at hand is itself an old, failed effort dusted off and tweaked. And smartly to put the focus directly on Indian industry.

The Army is essentially looking for a fixed wing drone platform with 10 hour endurance and 200 km line of sight operations. In its request for information, published this month, the Army states that the drones are ‘intended to be used for aerial surveillance over a large area by day and night for a sustained period’. The Army also wants the full deal on payloads, not that it ever really holds back on the specs when scouting equipement: Electro Optical and Infra Red (IR) with Laser Designator Payload, Electronic Intelligence Payload, Communication Payload, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Payload, Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR) Payload, Radio Relay, Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF), Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS).

What’s interesting is that the program is being seen as the first proper dipstick test by the Army after years of sampling unmanned systems developed to reasonable maturity by private Indian firms, both big and small. At Aero India earlier this year, there was a visible profusion of tactical drone platforms across the board, both from government-owned labs as well as Indian firms.

‘The Government of India invites responses to this request only from Indian Vendors. The vendors are to include their capability to indigenously design, develop and absorb the technology sought and provide life time support,’ says the RFI, calling for interested vendors to submit their initial pitches no later than December 28 this year. A request for proposal (RFP) that formally opens the procurement process is expected to be out in January 2018. It will be interesting to see if a merit-based contest will really square juggernaut corporations with unlimited access to foreign tech against smaller private firms with deep development initiatives.

The inflow of drone systems into the Army has been an embarrassing trickle compared to its huge and varied state requirement that stretches from hand-launched drones for the Special Forces to high performance long endurance unmanned systems. The Army currently operates Israeli-origin Searcher Mk.II and home-built Nishant drones, both with roughly comparable specifications. The Army is said to be uninterested in more Nishant drones, though the DRDO is currently proving the wheeled Panchi variant, presumably off feedback that the rail launcher rigmarole was too much for the Army to lug around.

The Army has tip-toed around the indigenous Rustom-I tactical drone platform, but has committed nothing so far to a substantial procurement. Why the military has so far failed to successfully yoke together private airframers with more specialised sensor payload makers from home or abroad remains a quandary, especially given that many of the these firms are guided or led by ex-military personnel.

India appears sorted for the moment on the high performance UAS front — it is in line to contract for U.S. built MQ-9B Sea Guardian maritime surveillance drones (with the possibility of armed versions to follow), has ordered more IAI Heron drones from Israel, is in flight with the indigenous Tapas (Rustom-II). It is in shorter range and unit level systems that it has suffered an inexplicable lack of procurement success.

Building 60 medium performance drones to meet the Army’s requirement is, quite literally, no big deal — especially if the scope of the program allows for foreign collaborations. The real challenge, as with a plenitude of failed or ongoing processes has shown, is seeing it to the finish line in the spirit of the contours set down by the Army. That could truly open important doors for local aerospace industry, if that’s the point at all.

https://www.livefistdefence.com/201...ian-army-scouts-60-all-indian-spy-drones.html
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

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The army plans to buy high-tech unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to strengthen its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and improve the effectiveness of its military operations.

The force is laying the groundwork for acquiring more than 120 high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs, a senior officer told HT. Such UAVs can fly at over 60,000ft and remain airborne for over 30 hours. The army’s existing unmanned systems’ fleet comprises Heron medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAVs, and the smaller Searcher Mark II tactical drones, both built by Israel Aerospace Industries. Herons can fly at over 35,000ft and feed airborne intelligence for over 45 hours compared to Searchers that operate at 15,000ft for nearly 20 hours.

“The higher you go, the more you see,” said Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (retd), army’s deputy chief till March 2017. “The precision afforded by HALE UAVs comes with top-end technology that can be expensive.”

The army is waiting for local vendors to respond to a request for information (RFI) for 60 short-range remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) that can operate for 10 hours at 15,000ft. India is in talks with US for the possible sale of 22 Guardian UAVs at a cost of $2 billion. An RFI for UAVs, a naval variant of Predator B drones, was issued to the US Office of Defence Cooperation on November 14.

Talks on the UAVs, manufactured by US’ General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, progressed only after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime in 2016. General Atomics chief executive (US and International Strategic Development) Vivek Lall, an American of Indian origin, has spearheaded efforts to allow the export of Category 1 UAVs to the first non-NATO country.

Lall was a part of the Ivanka Trump-led US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad in November.

The IAF has projected a requirement of over 100 US-made Predator C/Avenger armed UAVs. India does not have weaponised drones at the moment.

Source :- Indian Army sets sights on 120 high-tech drones to boost surveillance
 

LoneWolfSandeep

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Rustom-H is 24hrs endurance & MALE only (35k ft ceiling) not HALE (60k ft)
Rustom II is under development & pretty far away to fulfill the current requirement.

That means either American or Israeli. French doubtful. Russian has similar projects underway but lag behind American & Israel in UCAV tech curve.

Modi Ji tried to push useless & obsolete F16 down IAF throat, which now looks unlikely to succeed, especially since Congress has been raking up issues on procedure followed - hence political fallout if go for F16. Hence I would say, in my personal opinion, this be a push from PM on HALE UAV for a big ticket project to USA.
I think most likely be 100% American owned MII project, as they unlikely to share tech with India & best India can get is assembly over here. HAL production be an better option being Govt owned, in terms of Tech sharing willingness, compared to Pvt owned
We can get a better deal with Israeli in terms of TOT sharing and costing (but USA has a say there too) - nonetheless I am afraid PM has alternate plans for an American project.
I only hope we quickly finalise FGFA with Russia too & Rafale MII in India at the earliest. Or do all 3 simultaneously to balance our act preferably.
 
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Ashwin

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No way India need that many HALEs and why should Army operate it? :unsure: 2-3 Global Hawks would be enough to monitor the entire Indian Ocean.
Must be another case of careless reporting.

Currently, there are two RFIs for UAVs from Army.
According to the RFI issued Wednesday, “Mini UAVs are fixed and hence need to be complied with in totality. Details of systems being provided in subsequent parts of RFI must pertain to only those systems which are fully compliant to parameters.”
A mini-UAV system should comprise of Three Aerial Vehicle (AV) or platforms, One Man Portable Ground Control Station (MPGCS), One Launch and Recovery Systems, One Remote Video Terminal (RVT), three complete sets of sensor package (All weather day & Night capability), two Way Airborne Data Relay (to control UAV beyond line of sight), A portable COTS generator for charging and operating all UAV components without the need for any external power requirements of minimum 1 KVA etc.
The RFI specifies Weight including backpacks when dismantled and packed in two backpacks (manportable) not to exceed 35 Kg. The mission range of the UAVs should not be less than 10 km (with loiter time of minimum 45 mins at the maximum range) without using two way airborne data relay and extendable by 5 km or more for two way data relay.


US Scan Eagle.

The Indian Army’s (IA’s) Director General of Artillery has invited responses from local vendors by 28 December to its request for information (RFI) for the development and supply of 60 short-range remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs).
Issued on 16 November, the RFI states that the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are to be acquired under the India’s Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 (DPP-2016), will be used for day- and night-time aerial surveillance.
Each RPAS will be required to have a ceiling of 20,000 ft (6,096 m), an operational altitude of 15,000 ft (4,572m), a range of 200 km, and a minimum endurance of 10 hours.



So the report must be referring to MALE of Rustom-2 class. (35,000 ft and 24 hr)




@Aashish @Abingdonboy @Hellfire @Parthu @Tarun
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

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Yes its difficult to ascertain if India does require that many unarmed Hale UAV.
There is also reports of Indian IAF interested in 80-100 armed Predator C Avenger for $8billion

Source - 1 ) ‘U.S. considering Indian request of armed drones for air force’
2) India Eyes $8 Billion Worth 100 Avenger Predator Drones from US


Early this year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $ 8 billion deal.

The Trump Administration is “considering” India’s request for armed drones for its air force, according to a senior American official.

“Yes, yes,” the administration official told PTI when asked about India’s pending request about the purchase of armed drones as part of its armed forces’ modernisation drive.

The armed drones, the Indian Air Force (IAF) believes, would help it strengthen its defence capabilities.

Early this year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $ 8 billion deal.

The Trump Administration’s consideration in this regard comes months after a successful meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump at the White House on June 26, during which the U.S. announced to sell 22 unarmed Guardian drones to India, which would add the Indian Navy’s surveillance capabilities in the strategic Indian Ocean region.

“We are at ways to, in terms of Foreign military sales, but really also in defence cooperation broadly how to strengthen our relationship and cooperation,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official was responding to questions on defence relationship and India’s quest for high-tech defence equipments and technologies from the U.S. as part of its long overdue armed forces’ modernisation drive running into several hundred billions of dollars over the next decade.

Previous Obama Administration had designated India as major defence partner and the Trump Administration has accelerated the process of considering Indian requests.

“The US Navy and the Indian Navy have been cooperating for many years on counter piracy efforts, on ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and the and Red Sea and the Persian Gulf,” the official said.

“I think that [defence] cooperation is only going to increase based on the need for it to increase and the kind of trust that we are building through personal relationships and through a fundamental understanding that our interests aligned so clearly,” the official said.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that in keeping with India’s status as a major defense partner and their mutual interest in expanding maritime cooperation, the Trump administration has offered a menu of defence options for India’s consideration, including the Guardian UAV.

“We value the role India can play in global security and stability and are prepared to ensure they have even greater capabilities,” Mr. Tillerson had said ahead of his visit to India.

He did not mention about armed drones. He, however, said “the proposals the U.S. has put forward, including for Guardian UAVs, aircraft carrier technologies, the Future Vertical Lift program, and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft, are all potential game changers for our commercial and defence cooperation.

MY take :- PM is interested in having atleast one Big Ticket defence deal with USA - if not F16 then something else like UAV. Unarmed Global Hawks for Indo-Pacific region or armed Predator C Avenger. Guess India be interested more in armed drones, while USA may be willing for unarmed UAV
 
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Ashwin

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Yes its difficult to ascertain if India does require that many unarmed Hale UAV.
There is also reports of Indian IAF interested in 80-100 armed Predator C Avenger for $8billion
Nothing do with one another. What we are discussing is for Army not IAF.
 

LoneWolfSandeep

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Nothing do with one another. What we are discussing is for Army not IAF.
Well agree with you on that one, am just trying to make sense of it all - also if you notice last sentence of article does states while talking of Vivek Lall (Indian origin) Chief executive of GA "The IAF has projected a requirement of over 100 US-made Predator C/Avenger armed UAVs. India does not have weaponised drones at the moment."
so maybe the article is about IAF Predator C/Avenger wrongly mentioned as IA, thereby misleading, which can operate over 50000Ft +
 
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Ashwin

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Well agree with you on that one, am just trying to make sense of it all - also if you notice last sentence of article does states while talking of Vivek Lall (Indian origin) Chief executive of GA "The IAF has projected a requirement of over 100 US-made Predator C/Avenger armed UAVs. India does not have weaponised drones at the moment."
so maybe the article is about IAF Predator C/Avenger wrongly mentioned as IA, thereby misleading, which can operate over 50000Ft +
Guardian and Avenger are mentioned for Navy and Airforce respectively. So, Mistake in that regard is unlikely.
 
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Aashish

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@Ashwin

Will clarify here broadly. Please bear with me.

The MALE RFP is part 1 of the actual requirement.

IA MALE Categories are
  • The first category should have an endurance of 25hr and should be controllable on LOS range up to 250 km as well through satellite up to 1000 km.
  • In the second category, an endurance of 10hr and range 250km at LOS is needed.
  • Both categories should have multi-payload capability.
  • Army artillery needs two categories of MALE UAVs for EO/IR, Elint, Commint, SAR roles
  • The second category will go for Rustom/Tapas
  • First category will have a fight out with Hermes 900
IN MALE requirements are
  • MALE UAVs for coastal surveillance up 150nm from the coastline in all weather conditions.
  • 37 nos of such UAVs are required
IAF had not specified the new MALE requirement. May change it based on MII prospects.

All three services have searcher Mk2, heron and heron Tp divided among themselves

For MALE program
  1. Elbit Advanced Systems - manufacture of the Hermes 900 MALE had offered a MII project
  2. This UAV is already in service with Israelis armed forces.
  3. The joint venture will carry out assembly, integration and testing of the UAVs at Mundra, Gujarat which has hangers and airfield other facilities already available for this purpose.
  4. The aim of the project is to meet IA requirements and exports.
1514218362020.png

1514218408011.png



For Mini UAVS
  1. Tata Advanced systems is building its own mini UAS project
  2. The aim is to meet Army Infantry’s mini-UAV requirements
  3. The system has been indigenously designed and have sub-systems like autopilot, ground control station and gimbal stabilization.
  4. The system is capable of all terrain operations on 24/7 basis and has features like autonomous mission control and target tracking low noise and has rugged ground control station.

HALE

In HALE category needs are distributed among IN and IAF

IN
  • Indian Navy to carry out surveillance of the Choke points such as Gulf of Aden, Mozambique, and entrance to the Malacca Strait.
  • The first Lot of 22 Guardian B is ordered for that role.
  • IN wants to arm a lot of HALE with ASW capabilities as well as some NG PGMs
  • Eventually, the fleet is expected to grow to 6 squadrons over time. (66-80 drones)
IAF
  • IAF needs of HALE for an approximate 100-120 in nos for a 10 squadron force including reserves
  • Its choice is Predator C Avenger NG Multi-mission drone
  • MTOW of 8200kgs, Length 13m, Wingspan 20m, the Internal payload of 1600 kgs and external 2950 kgs.
  • Primarily will be armed with PGMs. DRDO is tasked for a 1000 KG NG-PGM development as well MKI/Mirage/Rafale/LCA fleet. This homegrown NG- PGM will be deployed in Avengers as well as Naval drones in future, Initially it will be armed with American Munitions only.
  • Presently a file of 40 Predator C Avenger NG Drone is with POTUS for confirmation.
  • It's expected that once we formally sign Guardian drones, this will follow next.
  • Plan is to allow General Atomics identify a local partner for a MII program for Maintenance terms of technology followed by assembling partially few of the later fresh orders.
Also, IN also wants Unmanned Rotary UAV in 2-tonne class. That's a separate program beyond all this.


[will cross-post it in IAF - Chronicles for reference]
 
T

Tarun

No way India need that many HALEs and why should Army operate it? :unsure: 2-3 Global Hawks would be enough to monitor the entire Indian Ocean.
Must be another case of careless reporting.

Currently, there are two RFIs for UAVs from Army.



US Scan Eagle.





So the report must be referring to MALE of Rustom-2 class. (35,000 ft and 24 hr)




@Aashish @Abingdonboy @Hellfire @Parthu @Tarun
Media report must be updated as Indian Armed Forces instead of Indian Army.

Btw, any update about 2nd prototype of Rustom-2 (TAPAS-201). 2nd prototype was almost ready from a month but still delayed for first flight.
@Aashish
 
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Aravind

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Why can't we use drones in civilian airspace, i got a idea of using drones for medical emergencies. Where do we get permission for it?
 
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Aashish

PARIKRAMA
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Why can't we use drones in civilian airspace, i got a idea of using drones for medical emergencies. Where do we get permission for it?


Lack of guidelines, regulation and laws in the Civil sector for civilian usage of drones So no clarity which civil department can be approached.

So you have to go through MOD and Industry ministry. A covering note from health ministry and possibly from MCI may help add more value. Club it with disaster management, you will surely see more responses this way.
 
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Aravind

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Lack of guidelines, regulation and laws in the Civil sector for civilian usage of drones So no clarity which civil department can be approached.

So you have to go through MOD and Industry ministry. A covering note from health ministry and possibly from MCI may help add more value. Club it with disaster management, you will surely see more responses this way.
Maybe MOD could make a exception for emergency Medical services. It could decrease the load on Emergency services and Ambulances.
Baiscally, the idea is to attach a small defibrillator kit along with Ambu bag,BP machine etc. if we can fit a LCD screen we can give directions to the people around ,how to use the Medical kit.
108 Emergency service in Hyderabad takes 20 minutes to respond by drones we could reach even faster to the patient,stabilize them before Ambulance arrives to shift them to Hospital.
This idea could also be used by our Security forces to provide battlefield Medical care and reach patients in remote areas using Modified Medical drones.
 
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LoneWolfSandeep

Well-Known member
Dec 25, 2017
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@Ashwin

Will clarify here broadly. Please bear with me.

The MALE RFP is part 1 of the actual requirement.

IA MALE Categories are
  • The first category should have an endurance of 25hr and should be controllable on LOS range up to 250 km as well through satellite up to 1000 km.
  • In the second category, an endurance of 10hr and range 250km at LOS is needed.
  • Both categories should have multi-payload capability.
  • Army artillery needs two categories of MALE UAVs for EO/IR, Elint, Commint, SAR roles
  • The second category will go for Rustom/Tapas
  • First category will have a fight out with Hermes 900
IN MALE requirements are
  • MALE UAVs for coastal surveillance up 150nm from the coastline in all weather conditions.
  • 37 nos of such UAVs are required
IAF had not specified the new MALE requirement. May change it based on MII prospects.

All three services have searcher Mk2, heron and heron Tp divided among themselves

For MALE program
  1. Elbit Advanced Systems - manufacture of the Hermes 900 MALE had offered a MII project
  2. This UAV is already in service with Israelis armed forces.
  3. The joint venture will carry out assembly, integration and testing of the UAVs at Mundra, Gujarat which has hangers and airfield other facilities already available for this purpose.
  4. The aim of the project is to meet IA requirements and exports.
View attachment 1046
View attachment 1047


For Mini UAVS
  1. Tata Advanced systems is building its own mini UAS project
  2. The aim is to meet Army Infantry’s mini-UAV requirements
  3. The system has been indigenously designed and have sub-systems like autopilot, ground control station and gimbal stabilization.
  4. The system is capable of all terrain operations on 24/7 basis and has features like autonomous mission control and target tracking low noise and has rugged ground control station.

HALE
In HALE category needs are distributed among IN and IAF

IN
  • Indian Navy to carry out surveillance of the Choke points such as Gulf of Aden, Mozambique, and entrance to the Malacca Strait.
  • The first Lot of 22 Guardian B is ordered for that role.
  • IN wants to arm a lot of HALE with ASW capabilities as well as some NG PGMs
  • Eventually, the fleet is expected to grow to 6 squadrons over time. (66-80 drones)
IAF
  • IAF needs of HALE for an approximate 100-120 in nos for a 10 squadron force including reserves
  • Its choice is Predator C Avenger NG Multi-mission drone
  • MTOW of 8200kgs, Length 13m, Wingspan 20m, the Internal payload of 1600 kgs and external 2950 kgs.
  • Primarily will be armed with PGMs. DRDO is tasked for a 1000 KG NG-PGM development as well MKI/Mirage/Rafale/LCA fleet. This homegrown NG- PGM will be deployed in Avengers as well as Naval drones in future, Initially it will be armed with American Munitions only.
  • Presently a file of 40 Predator C Avenger NG Drone is with POTUS for confirmation.
  • It's expected that once we formally sign Guardian drones, this will follow next.
  • Plan is to allow General Atomics identify a local partner for a MII program for Maintenance terms of technology followed by assembling partially few of the later fresh orders.
Also, IN also wants Unmanned Rotary UAV in 2-tonne class. That's a separate program beyond all this.


[will cross-post it in IAF - Chronicles for reference]
Thx PARIKRAMA thats clears all doubts & clarifies all 3 armed forces UAV requirements in a single reference spot & confirms my take in the matter too..
That be a hell of a force multiplier :love::cool::devilish: in the HALE requirement 10 sqn Predator C Avenger NG

PS: strategicfront.org needs more emoji & animated emojis
 
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Kshithij Sharma

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Dec 4, 2017
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Why does India keep importing drones when it can be made in India itself? All technology is not like Jet engine. Which part of drone manufacturing is India lagging in? Most drones use turboprop or low powered turbofan. It is strange that India needs a drone like Hermes 900 which is a small drone without much of advanced technology.

I can understand the need for Sea guardian drones (unarmed avenger drone) as that will involve P8I technology and some other advanced technologies. But, buying Heron and Hermes 900 are something I can't understand.
 

Ashwin

Agent_47
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
4,443
7,188
Bangalore
@Ashwin

Will clarify here broadly. Please bear with me.

The MALE RFP is part 1 of the actual requirement.

IA MALE Categories are
  • The first category should have an endurance of 25hr and should be controllable on LOS range up to 250 km as well through satellite up to 1000 km.
  • In the second category, an endurance of 10hr and range 250km at LOS is needed.
  • Both categories should have multi-payload capability.
  • Army artillery needs two categories of MALE UAVs for EO/IR, Elint, Commint, SAR roles
  • The second category will go for Rustom/Tapas
  • First category will have a fight out with Hermes 900
IN MALE requirements are
  • MALE UAVs for coastal surveillance up 150nm from the coastline in all weather conditions.
  • 37 nos of such UAVs are required
IAF had not specified the new MALE requirement. May change it based on MII prospects.

All three services have searcher Mk2, heron and heron Tp divided among themselves

For MALE program
  1. Elbit Advanced Systems - manufacture of the Hermes 900 MALE had offered a MII project
  2. This UAV is already in service with Israelis armed forces.
  3. The joint venture will carry out assembly, integration and testing of the UAVs at Mundra, Gujarat which has hangers and airfield other facilities already available for this purpose.
  4. The aim of the project is to meet IA requirements and exports.
View attachment 1046
View attachment 1047


For Mini UAVS
  1. Tata Advanced systems is building its own mini UAS project
  2. The aim is to meet Army Infantry’s mini-UAV requirements
  3. The system has been indigenously designed and have sub-systems like autopilot, ground control station and gimbal stabilization.
  4. The system is capable of all terrain operations on 24/7 basis and has features like autonomous mission control and target tracking low noise and has rugged ground control station.

HALE
In HALE category needs are distributed among IN and IAF

IN
  • Indian Navy to carry out surveillance of the Choke points such as Gulf of Aden, Mozambique, and entrance to the Malacca Strait.
  • The first Lot of 22 Guardian B is ordered for that role.
  • IN wants to arm a lot of HALE with ASW capabilities as well as some NG PGMs
  • Eventually, the fleet is expected to grow to 6 squadrons over time. (66-80 drones)
IAF
  • IAF needs of HALE for an approximate 100-120 in nos for a 10 squadron force including reserves
  • Its choice is Predator C Avenger NG Multi-mission drone
  • MTOW of 8200kgs, Length 13m, Wingspan 20m, the Internal payload of 1600 kgs and external 2950 kgs.
  • Primarily will be armed with PGMs. DRDO is tasked for a 1000 KG NG-PGM development as well MKI/Mirage/Rafale/LCA fleet. This homegrown NG- PGM will be deployed in Avengers as well as Naval drones in future, Initially it will be armed with American Munitions only.
  • Presently a file of 40 Predator C Avenger NG Drone is with POTUS for confirmation.
  • It's expected that once we formally sign Guardian drones, this will follow next.
  • Plan is to allow General Atomics identify a local partner for a MII program for Maintenance terms of technology followed by assembling partially few of the later fresh orders.
Also, IN also wants Unmanned Rotary UAV in 2-tonne class. That's a separate program beyond all this.


[will cross-post it in IAF - Chronicles for reference]
I would have to disagree with IA part here.

From RFIs and DRDO slides we know IA want 3 UAV categories. Both RFI asks for Indian vendor. In the case of MALE it even asks for Indian design.
  • Mini UAV - All up weight 35 kg - Possible Offerings : HAL/Elbit Skylark, Tata Advanced Systems/Boeing Scan Eagle, and AeroVironment/Dynamatic Technologies Puma. Its under 'buy Indian' in DPP.
  • Short Range Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) - Endurance 10 hour . RFI asks for Indian developed vehicle. So, It will be Rustom 1.
  • MALE UAV - Endurance 24 hours. Which is Rustom 2, Why would IA go for Hermes 900 if its under development? They are not in a hurry since RFI is not out yet. (Considering Mini-UAV RFI was first out in 2012)
Unlike IAF or IN, Army doesn't need Avenger or Reaper class of UAVs. For them, less capable Rustom 2 is good enough. Its refreshing to see IA going all Indian systems.
 

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