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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a new challenge through iDEX ADITI Edition 1.0, targeting Indian startups. This initiative aims to enhance the capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) by seeking the development of a Range Extension Kit (REK) for existing 250 kg High-Speed Low Drag (HSLD) bombs.

The core objective of this challenge is to develop a rocket or engine-assisted REK equipped with an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) head for terminal guidance. This kit will be designed to:

Increase Range: Extend the operational range of existing 250 kg HSLD bombs to beyond 150 kilometres when launched from an altitude of 5 kilometres at a speed of Mach 0.8.

Enhance Precision: Integrate an EO/IR seeker and scene-matching capability into the REK. This will enable highly accurate terminal guidance, even in GNSS-denied environments where GPS signals are unavailable or jammed.

Seamless Integration: Ensure compatibility with existing bomb racks on IAF aircraft, allowing for easy integration and operational deployment.

Superior Accuracy: Achieve a Circular Error Probable (CEP) of less than 5 meters, with a desirable target of fewer than 3 meters, for exceptional strike precision.

Mission Planning Flexibility: Allow for pre-mission planning to define the impact angle and attack direction of the bomb, enhancing mission effectiveness.

Ease of Use and Maintenance: Prioritize user-friendliness and low maintenance requirements for the REK.

Storage and Compatibility: Ensure the REK can be conveniently stored on existing bomb straps and is compatible with various IAF aircraft.

The challenge calls for the development and delivery of five REK prototypes, along with integration, certification, maintenance equipment, and storage facilities. Additionally, the MoD highlights the potential for future adaptation of this technology to extend the range and precision of even heavier weapon systems.

The iDEX ADITI Edition 1.0 HSLD bomb REK challenge presents a unique opportunity for Indian startups in the aerospace and defence sectors. By successfully developing this innovative solution, startups can play a vital role in bolstering the IAF’s aerial strike capabilities and strategic edge. This initiative has the potential to revolutionize air-to-ground warfare by enabling long-range, high-precision attacks with existing weapon systems.

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