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The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a leading laboratory under India’s Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO), has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Indian companies to collaborate on the development of a new experimental unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

This project seeks participation from reputable Indian companies with proven expertise and experience in various engineering fields crucial for UAV development. These fields include:

  • Optics
  • Servo Mechanisms
  • Sensors
  • Imaging Technology
  • Purging Systems
  • Mechanical Design
  • Structural Engineering

High-Tech Seeker for Precision Targeting

The UAV will be equipped with a sophisticated dual-band (EO/IIR) seeker for target acquisition and engagement. Here’s a breakdown of the seeker’s key specifications:

  • Dual-Band Operation: The seeker will operate in both Electro-Optical (EO) and Infrared (IIR) spectrums, enabling target detection in various lighting conditions.
  • Target Acquisition Range: The seeker is designed to acquire targets within a range of 10-15 kilometres.
  • Acquisition Altitude: Effective target acquisition is expected at altitudes below 500 meters.
  • Automatic Scene Recognition: The seeker will employ automated scene recognition to differentiate between targets and background noise (e.g., matching satellite imagery with real-time video).
  • Lock ON After Launch (LoAL): The seeker will lock onto confirmed targets after launch, improving accuracy.
  • Wide Field of Regard: The seeker will have a significant field of view, spanning ±30 degrees in azimuth and +10 degrees to -55 degrees in elevation.
  • High Accuracy: The seeker aims to achieve a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of less than 9 meters, ensuring precise targeting.
  • Target Search Area: The seeker can scan search areas ranging from 2km x 2km to 6km x 6km.
  • Rapid Target Acquisition: Targets should be identified and acquired within 15 seconds.
  • Compact Design: The seeker’s size is expected to be less than 300 millimetres in length.
  • Pop-Up Maneuvers: The seeker is designed to handle terminal manoeuvres like pop-up attacks.
  • Fast Homing: Terminal homing onto the target should occur within 50 seconds.
  • Lightweight Design: The seeker’s weight is targeted to be under 15 kilograms.
  • Long-Term Storage: The seeker should require minimal maintenance and be storable for up to 10 years.
  • Low Power Consumption: The seeker’s power consumption is expected to be less than 50 watts.

This collaborative project between ADE and a qualified Indian partner has the potential to be a significant leap forward in domestic UAV technology. By leveraging the expertise of Indian companies, ADE aims to develop an advanced UAV equipped with a high-performance seeker, boosting India’s aerial defence capabilities. 

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