A proposal is likely to be soon cleared by the defence ministry which would allow the Indian Army to equip infantry and mechanised battalions with a new squad of mini-unmanned aerial vehicles.
The UAVs, with a limited range of 10 km would provide vital intelligence for ground troops.
Weighing less than 35 kg, these mini-UAVs would need to give remote video feed with allweather capability and loiter time of 45 minutes.
A media report suggests that the defence ministry is likely to give its nod to purchasing a total of 1,800 mini-UAVs, along with ground systems and support. It will be followed by approval by the defence acquisition committee.
It will be a ‘Make in India’ project, with the potential of orders increasing exponentially over the next few years. After getting the clearance from the defence ministry, tenders will be floated by the defence ministry for the UAVs. A dozens of Indian companies are likely to bid for the contact.
There will be 600 UAV sqauds – each consisting of three ‘birds’, a ground control system and a heavy vehicle.
These squads will be attached to all infantry and armoured battalions of the Indian Army, which currently rely on information from other units that operate longerrange UAVs such as the Heron and Searcher of Israeli origin.