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India has signed a crucial contract with Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research & Technologies (NSRT) under the iDEX initiative. This agreement marks a significant step towards strengthening the Indian Navy’s surveillance capabilities with the design and development of an indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS).

This project aligns perfectly with the Government of India’s vision of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-reliant India). Developing a domestic HAPS program reduces dependence on foreign technology and fosters indigenous innovation in the critical aerospace sector.

NSRT brings proven experience to the table. They have already successfully developed scaled HAPS prototypes powered by electric motors, demonstrating capabilities for extended endurance. Scaled HAPS that is under development will have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 80 kg and a payload capacity of 5 kg, this prototype boasts a remarkable 7-day endurance.

Full-Scale HAPS, which is also a solar-powered UAV offers significantly larger capacity, with an MTOW of 450 kg and a payload capacity of 35 kg. Its extended endurance of 90 days makes it a valuable asset for long-term surveillance missions.

The HAPS program promises to revolutionize the Navy’s surveillance capabilities by offering:

  • Persistent ISR Operations: HAPS can be deployed for extended durations, enabling continuous monitoring of vast maritime zones.
  • Versatile Payload Hosting: The platform can accommodate a range of sensors, including Electro-Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) cameras, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), and Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR), providing comprehensive data for maritime domain awareness.
  • Improved Communication: HAPS can serve as a communication relay, extending the range of data transmission from deployed assets.

The Indian Navy’s adoption of HAPS technology signifies a proactive approach towards building a “Future-Proof Navy.” This indigenous system will considerably enhance the Navy’s ability to safeguard India’s maritime interests and contribute to a robust national security posture.

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