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7th April 2022 (8 Topics)

Rajnath Singh launches second edition of swarm drone competition for start-ups


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled the second edition of the ‘Mehar Baba’ swarm drone competition by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for Indian start-ups to develop a swarm drone based system to detect foreign objects on aircraft operating surfaces. 


About ‘Mehar Baba’ swarm drone competition:

  • The competition was named to honour the late Air Commodore Mehar Singh, and was conceptualised to evolve proprietary design, development, manufacturing and production of low cost-high impact solutions for swarm drone technology.
  • The first edition was launched in October 2018, the Mehar Baba Swarm Drone challenge by the IAF was aimed at encouraging the development of swarm drones for the utilisation of varied domains, including response to disaster relief operations.
  • Significance:
    • The competition aims to tap into the young talent pool available across the country.
    • Swarm Drones has varied applications from disaster management to security platform.
    • Swarm drones as a technology concept, employs a large number of drones to operate collectively on a task.

Swarm drone system

  • As per the conditions, the swarm drone system should be able to scan and detect sub-centimetre size foreign objects on aircraft operating surfaces. The specifications of the surfaces have been defined.
  • The system should be able to carry a range of payloads and sensors, have image correction ability, provide alerts and provide accurate location and discernable image of foreign objects.
  • The system should also be able to operate in GPS denied environment, complete operating cycle within 30 minutes and operate day and night and in reduced visibility as well as light windy conditions.
  • Swarm drones work together in algorithms—swarming is achieved by developing the capability of each drone to not strike another drone while in formation.
  • Indian Air Force has announced the Mehar Baba prize under which individuals, start-ups and other “for profit” entities can compete to build a swarm of 50 drones to be employed in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.


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