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In a significant development in the realm of defence technology collaboration, the EDGE Group is currently engaged in discussions with India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the joint development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This strategic partnership aims to leverage the respective strengths of both entities, enabling them to pool resources, share knowledge, and collectively promote advanced weaponry systems on the global stage.

sources familiar with the matter have confirmed to, that the EDGE Group is particularly interested in co-developing an India-specific variant of its REACH-S Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The REACH-S UAV is a fixed-wing drone designed to meet the specific operational requirements of the Indian defence forces. With a take-off weight of 600kg and the capability to carry a payload of up to 120kg, the REACH-S UAV boasts impressive specifications.

Key features of the REACH-S UAV include its ability to attain an altitude of 19,000 feet and reach a cruising speed of 80 knots. Its dimensions, with a wingspan of 12 meters and a length of 5.5 meters, contribute to its operational versatility. Moreover, the REACH-S UAV offers a communications range of 200 kilometres, making it suitable for reconnaissance missions across varied terrains.

One of the notable attributes of the REACH-S UAV is its reusable functionality, coupled with an impressive endurance of up to 24 hours.

However, it is important to note that the REACH-S UAV faces competition from the Archer MALE UAV, developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (DRDO’s ADE). The Archer UAV, still under development, represents a formidable contender in the realm of MALE UAV technology. HAL, being the primary manufacturer of the Archer MALE UAV, is currently engaged in the production of five units for further testing and development.

At this juncture, the extent of HAL’s commitment to the co-development program with the EDGE Group remains uncertain, given its existing involvement in the development and production of the Archer MALE UAV. Nevertheless, the potential collaboration between EDGE and HAL holds promise for fostering innovation, enhancing technological capabilities, and bolstering India’s indigenous defence industry.

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