Friday, August 20, 2010

Indian Navy For New Rotory-UAVs

The photos above show Austrian firm Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 unmanned helicopter during a demo for the Indian Navy aboard one of its Sukanya-class offshore patrol vessels. This was October 2007 in the Arabian Sea. Three years forward, the Navy today published an RFI to support a potential buy of VTOL UAVs -- really, rotory-wing shipborne UAVs. The Navy supports the IAI-HAL Chetak-based NRUAV programme, but has identified the need for the capability before the tentative timeframe offered by IAI and HAL to operationalise the NRUAV. The Northrop-Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout is a certain contender.


Gautam said...

I've been following the NRUAV program and I have to say they're on the wrong track. The purpose of a rotary UAV like Fire Scout is to have a compact surveillance platform that can be carried with and compliment a warship's ASW helos. Unfortunately the NRUAV is built on the Chetak platform, which makes it too big to be carried on existing warships, since it occupies the same space as a regular helicopter.

I don't recommend the Fire Scout either, since it's a finished system that has no potential for Indian R & D. What we should be doing is forming a joint venture with Dassault or EADS and developing one of their various experimental rotary UAV concepts. That way we will have a semi-indigenous platform that suits the Navy's needs.

Anonymous said...

A buy savvy armed force. In China whatever the industry makes, PLA had to induct that only and their industry improved. In India its impossible. They want the best of the best!!!

Shiv, any update on IAC-1 built by Cochin Shipyard?

DELTA said...

I wonder the feasibility and scope for "DARPA"-like projects, offered at levels of colleges and an open-round (for companies, individuals etc).

From the university level, you would get an excellent platform on which the R&D (I presume DRDO here) organisations can develop advanced electronics. At an open level, I think even that might be taken care of too (atleast to some extent).

The thing with such projects/competitions (held by DRDO) has been (1)lack of publicity of the competition, (2)lack of external funding agencies. But times are changing now (atleast at university level). Project with budgets as large as 15 lakhs are being undertaken. Private organisations are beginning to take interest. It is an unexplored option.

Anonymous said...

Shiv, any news abt INS Chakra??????
i heard that she is on the way to india from Amur Shipyard.

Mr. Ra said...

Navy rotary UAV may not be a very critical area at present, so indigenous public & private ventures may be encouraged to move ahead at first with thorough monitoring.

Gautam said...

IITians have been developing small-scale UAV projects with such low manpower and funding that would put HAL and BEL to shame. Recently hundreds of Indian professionals in robotics and signal processing came forward offering to develop UAV technology.

We have the talent to compete with and even surpass the rest. But this will go untapped because HAL does some very aggressive backdoor lobbying to ensure it has a monopoly over UAV orders.

Anonymous said...

A chetak based NRUAV could have far more endurance than any of these smaller toys.

Endurance is definitely important.

Gautam said...

Anon @ 6:30PM,

You are correct. But why build a giant UAV the same size as a regular helicopter if the purpose of NRUAVs like these is to have a compact supplementary platform that can be carried ALONG WITH the usual 1-2 helicopters?