Indian Navy seeks to purchase 40 naval drones

The Indian Navy has revealed its plans to buy 40 naval unmanned aerial systems (NUAS) In a Request for Information (RFI) released on 29 June.

In the RFI, the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Indian Navy stated they are looking to buy the drones for surveillance activities, including signals intelligence (SIGINT), target acquisition, surveillance, and maritime domain awareness surrounding a naval task force.

The secondary roles of NSUAS would include anti-piracy, antiterrorist activities and assisting in search and rescue (SAR).

Through the RFI, the navy also seeks information about the technical support being provided for maintenance and support of the facility during its service life. The service life of the facility should be at least fifteen years.

The NSUAS would comprise at least the following components:

  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Each system is to comprise of two air vehicles, which are modular in design, made of composite material and that can be dismantled/ folded for portability and stowage onboard ship;
  • Two Control Stations (Main and Standby). Main control station to be fitted onboard the ship (preferably in ops room with a rack design) and shall be powered with onboard ship’s supply. Standby control station must be positioned onboard for controlling the air vehicle for redundancy.
  • One Launch System. A transportable launch system that can be fitted/assembled when required for the launch of an air vehicle and stowed when not in use, etc.

The officials also emphasized that the bidding companies will be required to “provide indigenous software, which is used for running applications on their equipment/system in their proposal.”

Indian Navy is boosting its capacity and capability in the last couple of months. In the past month, the navy also announced plans to purchase eight new next-generation corvettes.

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As emphasized by the officials, these corvettes will be versatile platforms for a variety of roles including surveillance missions, escort operations, deterrence, surface action group (SAG) operations, search and attack and coastal defence.

Photo: Illustration; Ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the U.S. Navy sail in formation during Malabar 2018. Photo: US Navy