- India is launching an ambitious project to develop its own shealth combat drones or UCAV’s (unmanned combat aerial vehicles), which will be capable of firing missiles and precision-guided munitions at enemy targets and then returning to home bases to re-arm for further missions.
- The government was close to approving a Rs 2,650 crore Project Ghatak to develop the futuristic “Indian Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle”.
- Project Ghatak flows from the earlier AURA (autonomous unmanned research aircraft) programme, which was sanctioned in 2009 at a cost of Rs 12.50 crore to carry out a “conceptual and feasibility study” for the future Indian UCAV.
- Interestingly, the UCAV will be powered by a “52-kilonewton dry variant” of the indigenously-developed Kaveri aerospace engine, which could not pass muster to become the power plant for the Tejas light combat aircraft.
- Some of the existing Indian fleet of Israeli Heron and Searcher-II UAVs are also being upgraded with “add-ons” to ensure they can undertake a combat mission over and above their current surveillance and precision-targeting roles.
- The armed forces, on their part, are keen to further induct a wide variety of drones, ranging from hand-launched mini ones to full-fledged UCAVs. The Army, for instance, wants at least 598 mini-UAVs to ensure “battlefield transparency” and “beyond the hill surveillance” in a 10-km radius for its infantry soldiers.
Source: Economic Times
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