Indian Army demonstrates UAV swarming technologies

Indian Army swarming UAVs - PIB

The Indian Army has demonstrated swarming technologies for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) using 75 indigenously developed multirotor UAVs at the Delhi cantonment on in mid-January, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced via the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB).

The small UAVs, which carried a variety of mission payloads, “destroyed” simulated targets such as fuel depots, tanks, terrorist hideouts, and radar systems, with army officials claiming that these systems could be used to engage threats as far as 50 km behind enemy lines. Some of those air vehicles were also used to airdrop supplies in a bid to highlight their potential ability to resupply troops deployed in remote environments.

The army reportedly intends to field as many as 1,000 multirotor UAVs.

“This demonstration is a recognition of the Indian Army’s steady embrace of emerging and disruptive technologies to transform itself from a manpower-intensive [force] to a technology-enabled force to meet future security challenges,” the MoD said, noting that the service is actively seeking artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous weapon systems, quantum technologies, robotics, cloud computing, and algorithm warfare.

The Indian Army exercise was facilitated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), academic institutions, and Bangalore-based Newspace Research and Technologies. The private startup is developing swarm technologies with state-owned aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in February 2020.

Meanwhile, the service has also signed a $20 million deal with private UAV developer ideaForge on 14 January to acquire the indigenously developed Switch UAV for high-altitude surveillance operations. The fixed wing, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle is a portable system that offers a 15 km range and an endurance of up to 120 minutes on a single charge.

It carries a day/night-capable electro-optical payload featuring a 720p resolution daylight camera with 25x optical zoom and a 480p thermal camera, and can be controlled using a video-game styled controller.

by Jr Ng