Indian Army To Get Made-In-India Drones For Ladakh; Will Sign Rs 140 Crore Deal With IdeaForge For SWITCH UAVs
The Indian Army has selected SWITCH unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made by IdeaForge to fulfill its requirement of an unknown number of tactical drones for its infantry troops deployed in high-altitude areas like Ladakh.
The Indian Army will sign a Rs 140 crore deal with the Navi Mumbai-based Indian company for SWITCH UAVs, Livefist reports, adding that the number of drones to be supplied as part of this deal is likely to be in hundreds.
The 6.5 kilogram SWITCH drone is capable of vertical take-off, has an endurance of around 2 hours and an operational range of 15 kilometers. The UAV can be launched from an altitude of up to 4,000 meters above mean sea level and has a maximum operating altitude of around 1,000 meters above ground level.
The drone can be operated with support from the Ground Control Station consisting of a high-range communication box, a hand-held controller for full camera control, and laptop/tablet for live video streaming and pre-flight checks.
“IdeaForge...has perfected its drone along high-stakes military standards right from having high flight time...stability, automation, easy use and deployment, vertical take-off and landing, etc. It can be setup and put in the air from virtually anywhere (even at high altitudes). The entire Ground Control Station including the drone, fits in a single bag,” the company said in a blog post in March 2020.
To be built in Maharashtra, hundreds of these drones will be delivered to the Indian Army under fast-track protocols at a time when the security situation along the Line of Actual Control has forced the Indian Army to ramp up surveillance. According to Livefist, the order will be completed over the next year.
Before being selected, IdeaForge’s SWITCH UAV competed in Indian Army trials in Ladakh against offerings from Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, VTOL Aviation and Israel’s Elbit Systems. The Indian armed forces have inducted drones manufactured by IdeaForge in the past. However, this is the biggest single order the company has received from the Indian Armed Forces.