The public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bengaluru-based start-up Newspace and the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) proposed High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) dubbed as Infinity as part of a drone warfare program for the defense forces will be cleared soon by the government of India at the estimated cost of over Rs 700 crore.

Initial seed money of around 50 crores is likely to be cleared in the next few days which HAL plans to use for advance design and research work of HAPS and 700 crores will be needed in phases in the next 3-4 years to start a developmental trial of the prototype.

HAPS relies on solar energy, with secondary batteries charged in daylight to power overnight flight that will enable a capability of flying continuously for months at a time, at around 70,000ft, above weather and conventional air traffic. HAPS with a 70-feet wing and weighing less than 500kg that can be loaded with different types of payloads for Maritime Surveillance, Connectivity, and Border Security.

HAPS is part of the Combined Air Teaming System (CATS) to link between unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying in lower altitudes and conventional satellites in higher altitudes like the Thermosphere. HAPS are cost-effective and are easier to launch. These satellites can be controlled from anywhere using Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) technology and comprises applications such as telecommunication and remote sensing for both civilian as well as military purposes. HAPS is particularly useful in providing communication in remote locations or on deep seas.

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