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Recent collaborative testing between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and India-based aerospace start-up NewSpace Research and Technologies (NRT) has yielded results that corroborate experimental wind tunnel data. These findings align with wind tunnel modelling predictions conducted in India, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between AFRL and NRT.

The collaborative testing took place at the AFRL Vertical Wind Tunnel facility located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The CRADA between AFRL and NRT is part of the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), which aims to foster technical progress for both partners. CRADAs are valuable mechanisms for partnering with innovative small businesses both domestically and internationally.

In 2021, the Ministry of Defence of India and the U.S. Department of Defense concluded a Project Agreement (PA) for Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (ALUAV) under the Joint Working Group Air Systems within the DTTI. This agreement builds upon the existing framework established in 2006 and renewed in 2015 for the co-development of defence equipment.

The DTTI’s primary objective is to promote collaborative technology exchange and create opportunities for the co-production and co-development of future technologies for both Indian and U.S. military forces. Joint Working Groups have been established in various domains, including land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies, to focus on mutually agreed-upon projects.

The PA for the co-development of ALUAV is a significant accomplishment for the DTTI, outlining collaboration between AFRL, the Indian Air Force, and the Defence Research and Development Organization. The partnership aims to design, develop, demonstrate, test, and evaluate systems for the co-development of an ALUAV Prototype. Key organizations involved in executing the PA include the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) at DRDO, the Aerospace Systems Directorate at AFRL, and the Indian and U.S. Air Forces.

This collaborative effort reflects the commitment of both nations to advancing defence technology and strengthening their defence partnership. The validation of wind tunnel results is a testament to the progress achieved through international cooperation in defence research and development.

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