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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

The public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been granted permission for the development of the indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) as part of the Combat Air Teaming System program for the defense forces as confirmed by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.

HAL in collaboration with NAL and Private sector company Newspace Research and Technologies Pvt Ltd had proposed the development of HAPS called CATS Infinity in Aero India 2021. HAL will first develop a scaled prototype for which NAL already has started testing lightweight electric motors that will be powered by high-density rechargeable Lithium-Sulphur batteries that will use solar panels on the HAPs to recharge them in the day and use batteries at night that will allow it to remain in the air for 2-3 months at a time without landing back.

HAPS will weigh more than 500 kg and will be able to fly at a height of 70,000 feet for which the whole project investment cost is estimated to be around 700 cores with initial seed money of 50 crores required to start work on the scaled model for testing purpose. HAL officials have said that the prototype will be ready in 3-4 years.

HAPS will fly at around 70,000ft, above weather and conventional air traffic to provide Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) Capabilities and near real-time service for continuous surveillance to meet mission requirements as well as high-resolution imagery and video capture for intelligence gathering. HAPs will also be able to carry different types of payloads like Electro-Optical, Infrared, Hyperspectral, Passive Radio Frequency (RF) Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) radar, Early Warning, Lidar and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

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