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Home > India > News > PTI

Indian Army to try out DRDO's spy plane

June 06, 2008 16:53 IST

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In a major step towards giving the Indian Army discrete aerial reconnaissance and target acquisition capabilities, Nishant, the DRDO's pilotless aircraft, will soon be put through pre-induction trails.

The Army is expected to take Nishant, an unmanned aerial vehicle, for 'confirmatory and training trials before induction' within a month.

"The trials are scheduled to be held shortly," officials of the Defence Research Development Organisation said on Friday.

Designed to perform discrete aerial intelligence gathering and for acquiring targets on land and air, Nishant would be put to use by the Indian Army in forward areas in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], for gathering electronic intelligence and for electro-optical reconnaissance.

In a battlefield, Nishant can help Army units to acquire targets to direct heavy artillery shelling and for guiding fighter aircraft to fire rockets and drop precision bombs at enemy positions and in an anti-tank role.

"Pre-induction trials are mandatory to affirm the satisfaction of the end-user, the Army, before these UAVs are inducted and deployed in operational areas," the sources said.

The Army had in October 2005 placed an order for ground support systems and 12 Nishants, currently under limited series production at Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment.

"Of the 12 Nishants on order, the ADE has already got four of the UAVs ready for delivery to the Army. These aerial vehicles will be used to provide hands-on training to Army personnel and for confirmatory trials," a DRDO official said.

At present, Indian Army is using the Israeli 'Heron' UAVs in operational areas, including Jammu and Kashmir for aerial reconnaissance and during anti-terrorist operations.

Nishant, a remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) designed and developed by ADE, has an endurance of four to five hours and a range of 100 km in its primary roles.

Flying at a speed of 40 to 60 metres per second, the UAV is capable of relaying data in real time to the army units moving forward in a battlefield condition.

It can carry a payload of 45 kg with its integrated sensor package of Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), laser ranger and 35 mm mini pan camera, which was developed at CSIO, Chandigarh. The 360-kg RPV is powered by ALVIS AR-801 55 bhp engine.

The Central government had in 1988 decided that DRDO would develop UAVs and had sanctioned Rs 34 crore with a foreign exchange component of Rs 8 crore towards the project.

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