New Delhi, May 5
To constantly keep an eye along the border with Pakistan and China, the Ministry of Defence intends to procure small-sized surveillance drones — also called quad copters — for the Indian Army.
2 versions sought
The Ministry of Defence seeks two versions of the drones — one for deployment at an altitude greater than 4,000 m (13,100 ft) and the other for an altitude below 4,000 m
No pact for US rifles
The Ministry of Defence has decided against signing the Rs 700-crore repeat order it approved in late 2020 for buying 72,400 Sig Sauer assault rifles from the US. A rifle of the same type will be sourced from indigenous vendors, say sources. The first lot of 72,000 Sig Sauer rifles have been inducted.
It seeks two versions — one for deployment at an altitude greater than 4,000 m (13,100 ft) and the other for an altitude below 4,000 m.
A formal request for information (RFI) — the first stage of the tendering process — was sent out to Indian vendors on Thursday.
The Army is looking for a drone that has all-up weight of 10 kg. It should be equipped with a video camera and a night sensor, and fly within the 5 km range. Militarily, these are called tactical drones and provide real-time imagery and videos to the forward-deployed troops and commanders.
The weight of the drones should be such that it is able to withstand high-altitude strong wind up to 20 knots (37 kmph) and it must be capable to launch at 5,500 m (18,000 ft) and fly at least 500 m above ground.
Most of the peaks in the Siachen sector and the sub-sector north in Ladakh are higher than 18,000 ft and so are some of the peaks in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Both versions of the drones need the capability to launch and land on an unprepared area. The tentative date for the next step, the issue of request for proposal, is November 2022.
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