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India is one of the fastest-growing markets for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and one of the top UAV importers for military purposes worldwide. Technological advancement in UAVs and the demand for multi-functional UAVs have pushed manufacturers to invest heavily in the research and development of cost-effective and feature-rich UAVs, according to indiatimes.com.
A full-scale prototype of a rotary-wing UAV has been recently unveiled by Indian aerospace and defense company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Specifically designed to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, the locally-designed UAV was developed in cooperation with the country’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, to meet specific requirements of the Indian Army and Indian Navy.
The UAV can be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, coastal surveillance, radar and missile decoy operations, detecting improvised explosive devices and landmines, and tracking and designating targets.
The 200 kg UAV, which is equipped with a twin-blade main rotor and a locally developed petrol engine, is stated to have a range of 200 km, endurance of six hours, and a service ceiling of 6,000 m, according to janes.com.
The platform, the fuselage of which is 4.2 m long and 1.28 m wide, is reportedly capable of flying at a top speed of 200 km/h and can carry a 40 kg payload.
The UAV can fly in fully autonomous mode, including auto take-off and landing with a return-to-home recovery option, according to HAL. It uses GPS for interactive command and control with completely programmable mission management computers. Real-time data and video links are available for line-of-sight operations.