HAL ON THE LOOK FOR OVERSEAS PARTNERS FOR JOINT DEVELOPMENT OF UAVS
By Bulbul Singh
10 Jul 13. India’s state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has sent expressions of interests (EOIs) to international aerospace companies to jointly develop Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for use by Indian defence forces.
HAL has evaluated that the UAV market is worth around $2 billion and there is a need to carve out a special division in the company on UAVs. Currently India is using over 150 numbers of variety of UAVs, which are largely of Israeli make.
While the Indian Navy requires Medium and High Altitude Long Endurance UAVS, the Indian Army requires, smaller, and even micro UAVs. The Indian Air Force has a requirement of rotary and combat UAVs.
In addition, the para military forces under the Home Ministry and the Research agencies of the Indian government are also planning to acquire variety of UAVs.
HAL has already sent Expressions of Interests to defence companies in Europe, Israel, United States, and Russia seeking information on their platforms and how they can associate with HAL in joint production of UAVs. So far none of the defence companies have sent their offers.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is looking forward to a joint development project on UAVs as has been struck with Russia for the joint development of the Fight Generation Fighter Aircraft.
HAL is initially looking for a Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV with a multi-mission platform for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance; communication and data relay. The all weather UAV should be in the 2 tone range with a length not more than 15 meters (49 ft.) and a wingspan of not more than 30 meters and having a payload capacity of 500 kg (1,100 lb.) with an endurance of 50 hrs and maximum speed of 500 kilometers per hour.
The Short Range UAVs will be used for battlefield target acquisition, surveillance and reconnaissance, correction of artillery fire and battle damage assessment while the mini UAS will tackle over-the-hill surveillance, border security, law enforcement and urban operations.
After the Expressions of Interest, the partner is expected top be selected and signed by end 2014.
The Ministry of Defence has also drawn a roadmap for future UUAV needs of the Indian forces.
The future UAVs will be smaller and easier to transport and have the following essential features:-
(a) The size as well as modern stealth technology should make them difficult to detect. They should also be able to make own assessment of the surroundings and use it as a basis for autonomous smart decisions relating to, for example, its choice of route and the use of sensors.
(b) Develop technologies to enable unmanned, highly autonomous strike capabilities against the full spectrum of potential targets. Flexibility of UAVs to operate from multiple platforms would rationalize manning and financial effects. In addition, control of multiple UAV platforms from remote locations would incorporate flexibility in basing and operational deployment. Automated flight control and take off/landing systems are
desired to enhance redundancy.
(c) The pay load and sensors need to be upgraded with changing technology. The future of the military aviation is moving towards the unmanned sector capable of undertaking multiple tasks. Capable of extended loiter times, it would provide a continuous flow of desired information to the pilot through the sensor fusion of all data automatically onboard.
The Long Endurance UAVs would be have the following features:
(a) High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs. The Armed Forces require HALE UAVs having all-weather capability to operate at altitudes of 36,000-65,000 ft. with endurance for a minimum endurance of 96 hrs with a payload up to 1500 lbs.
(b) Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs. The MALE UAVs required should have all-weather capability to operate at altitudes of 25,000-36,000 ft wit