India will build medium and long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles jointly with an industry partner, a top defence official said on Monday.
"We have taken action already to develop medium and long endurance UAVs to be jointly developed with the industry partner," M Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Defence Research and Development Organisation chief M Natarajan told an international seminar on aerospace technologies in Bangalore.
"In fact, we already have requested an 'expression of interest' from Indian industries to partner us. We have hopes that they will cater to the needs of the services for mini-UAVs," he said.
"We will support all our manned and unmanned aircraft programmes with engineering simulation facilities and ground rigs to fix all the problems on the ground," he told the inaugural session of the seminar, attended by Defence Minister AK Antony, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi and Secretary in the Department of Defence Production KP Singh.
The Indian Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, is already evolving into its variants -- the LCA naval version and LCA trainer, with potential to become an advance jet trainer beyond Hawk, he said.
Natarajan said India was also developing the Airborne Early Warning and Control System, with the original proposal envisaging an executive jet-based platform.
"The scope of AEW&C programme is to deliver two fully qualified systems to IAF as part of Phase I," he said. "Additional 6-8 systems are contemplated as part of Phase II of this programme."