India's defence research agency DRDO has developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) specifically for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations, which will be inducted into the armed forces by the year-end.
The 1.5 kg UAV, called 'Netra', is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a
group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation's Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.
DRDO scientist Dr Alok Mukherjee, who demonstrated the UAV, here yesterday said Netra would be ready for induction into the services within the next six months after it is subjected to some more trial tests.
"The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.", he told reporters here yesterday.
Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements of the security agencies concerned and their use.
IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been
designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge.
Apart from that, Netra is equipped with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations.
Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing
capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter.
In addition to that, the in-built fail-safe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery.
Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but research is being carried out to make Netra function even during monsoon.