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The race to develop High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) is intensifying in India, with two key players vying for dominance: CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Newspace Research and Technologies Pvt Ltd.

CSIR-NAL successfully test-flew its HAPS prototype at the Challakere testing facilities in Karnataka earlier this year. This scaled-down model, with a wingspan of 11 meters and weighing 23 kilograms, achieved an impressive feat by staying aloft for approximately eight hours at an altitude of 3 kilometers. NAL aims to develop a full-scale version with a significantly larger wingspan (30 meters) by 2027, capable of flying for at least 90 days at an altitude of 23 kilometers.

Newspace Research and Technologies is not far behind. They recently conducted a test flight of their own HAPS design, also a scaled-down model with an 8-meter wingspan. While details remain undisclosed, the company plans a full-sized version with a wingspan of 24-25 meters, indicating a substantial platform. This focus on larger size suggests Newspace might be targeting similar operational goals as NAL’s full-scale HAPS.

Adding weight to Newspace’s efforts is a recent deal signed with the Indian Navy to develop a HAPS specifically for maritime surveillance. This collaboration signifies the potential of HAPS technology for military applications and provides Newspace with a crucial head start in a specific market segment.

Both HAP Prototype are Both in Challakere testing facilities in Karnataka, where regular flights have been monitored . NAL HAPS likely will be offered for Non-Military usage while Newspace’s HAPS is seen likely for the Military usage. Both NAL and Newspace have done tremendous advancements to demonstrate India’s commitment to becoming a leader in HAPS technology. With NAL focusing on extended flight duration and Newspace prioritizing a specific military application, the competition promises to be multifaceted. This race will likely lead to significant advancements in HAPS design and capabilities, ultimately benefiting India’s technological development and strategic interests.