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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Indian Air Force (IAF), and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) are set to initiate developmental trials of the Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) later this year or early next year. These trials will be conducted from IAF-operated C-130J Transport Aircraft, marking an important milestone in the joint project undertaken by the United States and India under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) initiative.

The ALUAV, which will be used for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles, will feature joint intellectual property rights (IPR) for both the United States and India. The collaboration aims to develop an indigenous capability for manufacturing the ALUAV in India by leveraging technology transfer from the United States.

In addition to the ISR variant, plans are also underway to develop an armed version of the ALUAV. This variant will be capable of engaging and neutralizing targets within enemy positions. The armed ALUAV will find utility in operations from fighter jets, enhancing their capabilities and effectiveness on the battlefield.

Furthermore, there are discussions about developing a maritime-centric variant of the ALUAV. This variant will be designed to be launched from India’s P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft. After carrying out its mission, the ALUAV will be recovered using parachutes on the high seas by Indian warships. This development holds great promise for enhancing India’s maritime surveillance capabilities and strengthening its naval operations.

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