Mumbai-Based Startup IdeaForge Bags $20 Million Indian Army Order For ‘SWITCH’ Drone, Here’s All You Need To Know

Mumbai-Based Startup IdeaForge Bags $20 Million Indian Army Order For ‘SWITCH’ Drone, Here’s All You Need To KnowideaForge’s NETRAv2 UAV helps NSG commandos gain situational awareness in their mock drill (Source: @ideaforge_tech/Twitter)

A Mumbai-based research and product development company ideaForge has bagged a $20 million order from the Indian army for its ‘SWITCH’ drone, reports Inc42.

The company reportedly plans to use the funding to meet the working capital needs to service its larger order book. Last month, it had raised $1 million (about INR 7.2 Cr) debt funding from the existing investor Infosys.

In 2016, Infosys had invested $1.5 million in the ideaForge’s Series A round. The $10 million Series A round was led by WRV Capital and IndusAge Partners.

Founded in 2007 by IIT Bombay alumni — Ankit Mehta, Ashish Bhat, Rahul Singh, Vipul Joshi, and Amardeep Singh — ideaForge claims to be India’s largest manufacturer of drones for defence, homeland security and industrial applications.

The company has more than 15 years of research and development (R&D) and 20+ patents in the Indian and international market.

It claims to have deployed more than 1,000 drones since its inception, and trained over 1400 pilots in services including Indian Army, Navy, Air-Force, all CAPFs (CRPF, BSF, NSG, etc), State Police Forces, Indian Railways, TAFE, NTPC, DRDO, L&T etc.

The use of the drones ranges from reconnaissance and surveillance, counter-terror, crowd control, disaster management to traffic monitoring, precision agriculture and industrial asset inspection.

The SWITCH drone

The website of the company says that the SWITCH is a first of its kind Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) and fixed wing hybrid Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and features advanced flight time, higher safety and simple operation with additional fail-safe redundancies.

The website further states that the drone is “all terrain dominator” and has been tested in extreme temperatures from -20°C to +50°C, high humidity, marine environment and dusty weather conditions to deliver reliable and consistent performance.

The specifications of the drone are given as follows:

Technical Specifications:

  • Endurance: > 120 minutes
  • Range (LoS): 15 km
  • Weight: < 6.5 kg
  • Wind Resistance: Up to 10.8 knots or 20 km/h
  • Vehicle Size: ~ 2.6 m x 1.8 m
  • Ingress Protection: IP53 Rated for Dust & Water Resistance
  • Max Launch Altitude: 4000 m AMSL
  • Max Operating Altitude: 1000 m AGL

Payloads:

  • Combined Day & Night Payload
  • Daylight Payload: 1280 x 720 pixels, 25x Optical Zoom
  • Thermal Payload: 640 x 480 pixels

Ground Control Station Features:

  • High range communication box
  • Hand held controller for full camera control
  • Real time video streaming
  • Integrated application software with the geographic map and video view
  • Pre-flight self check

Fail-Safe Features:

  • Multiple GPS for redundancy
  • Return home on low battery
  • Return home on high winds

The ideaForge website states that SWITCH drone can be used for long duration operations, long endurance surveillance and security, inspection and photogrammetry.

The Indian UAV market

The future of the UAV market in India is bright with booming applications, both military and civilian.

A PWC report states that the Indian UAV market is poised to grow at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 per cent between 2017 to 2023 in terms of revenue.

The global market intelligence and advisory firm BIS Research predicts that the Indian UAV market will reach $885.7 million by 2021, while the global market size will touch $21.47 billion.

The sector is also set to benefit from the government push to indigenous defence production.

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