Chetak UAV Advertisement + Admiral Arun Prakash on how it all happened

Just came across this advert for Israel Aerospace Industries' Naval Rotary UAV (NRUAV), a programme they took up after the Indian Navy asked them if it was possible to rejig old Chetaks into trust ship-borne UAVs. Not sure where the programme is no that front (will find out). For now, here's what IAI says the NRUAV will do: over the horizon targeting (OTHT) and real time battle damage assessment, automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) from aviation-capable war-ship and unprepared landing zone, fail safe/fully redundant system – no single point failure, adverse weather capabilities and multi sensor capability.

The Navy's quest for a ship-borne rotary UAV was intitiated under the stewardship of Admiral Arun Prakash sometime in 2005-06. I asked Admiral Prakash for a brief account of how it all happened. And here's his reply which I quote as-is:

Admiral Arun Prakash: "The Indian Navy was probably one of the first Navies to deploy UAVs out at sea; two of our older frigates have been modified with control stations and can take over a Heron/Searcher launched from ashore. Its been a success story. The results have been amazing; with an optical payload, the kind of fine details that you can see of the target, the long dwell time (in hours) and the stealth, beat anything an MR [maritime reconnaisance] aircraft can do. Then of course, there are EW and radar payloads. However, a shore based UAV still has limitations of endurance and communications range, and we wanted a true sea-going vehicle which could actually live at sea. The shipborne UAVs tried out so far have had limited success so far world-wide. The fixed wing ones have to be trapped in a net (or land on a carrier!) and the rotary winged ones are tough to land in choppy seas. Both had a high accident rate. When the issue was broached with the Israelis, they said they had an an excellent auto-pilot and were confident of small-deck landings in rough seas. We already knew they had the best payloads. We had a cheap, simple, reliable shipborne rotary-wing airframe/engine almost 100% Indian made -- the Chetak. Without its 2 pilots, it would also have a huge payload. HAL wanted a chunk of the action, which was also good. So it looked like a win-win all round."

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