Army looks to get hi-tech drones, robotic mules to replace animal transport
Science & Technology
28th Jan, 2023
The Army has initiated the process to acquire three niche technologies to sharpen its combat edge, including 130 tethered drone systems for surveillance purposes for long duration and 100 robotic mules for logistics requirements in far-flung border areas.
About the Technology:
- A tethered drone system comprises drones that come with a ground-based tether station and can be used for surveillance of targets beyond the line of sight for a prolonged period.
- They can also be launched in an untethered mode for certain duration to confirm inputs.
- In a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued to the Army under which the tethered drone system will comprise;
- two aerial vehicles with combined Electro Optic/Infrared Payloads,
- one remote video terminal and generator set,
- one battery charger, one spare battery per drone and
- A modular carrying case for the system.
- The systems are required to have a minimum 60 per cent indigenous content and will be procured under the ‘Buy India’ category.
Request for Proposal (RFP):
A request for proposal (RFP) is a project announcement posted publicly by an organization indicating that bids for contractors to complete the project are sought. The RFP defines the project, for the company that issues it as well as the companies that respond to it.
- RFPs are used by most government agencies and many private companies and organizations.
Key specifications of the Technology:
- Their weight should be around 15 kg and they should have an endurance of up to six hours in tethered mode and 45 minutes in untethered mode, and should have the capability to be deployed in 10 minutes.
- As per specifications mentioned in the RFP, the mission range in untethered mode should not be less than 5 km one way and should be capable of being launched from 4,500 metres above mean sea level and should be able to fly at a height of 500 metres above ground level.
- It also stated that the drones should be able to land back home in case of a communication failure, or tether breakage and low battery.
- The drone systems will come with a tether station, which will act as power supply cable and a data link.
- Extended operating duration: These drones will have an advantage over others in the Army’s Inventory due to an enhanced surveillance capability over an extended period of time.
- Longer flight duration for constant surveillance, even for targets beyond the line of sight, with little risk of getting jammed will aid the troops on ground by arming them with the correct intent and target acquisition.
Drone Technologies in Armed forces:
- The Army has initiated the process of acquiring a range of indigenous drones for surveillance purposes along with counter-drone systems to act against enemy drones.
- This includes Switch drones, swarm drones, high-altitude logistics drones, mini remotely piloted aircraft and remotely piloted aerial vehicles, surveillance copters, Heron medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), loitering munitions, runway-independent RPAS, among around 2,000 drones.