Three Indian start-ups have won the Indian Air Force’s three-year swarm drone competition, paving the door for at least two of them to be awarded official contracts for observation, attack, and electronic warfare drones.
NewSpace Research & Technologies Pvt Ltd, led by former Indian Air Force commander Sameer Joshi, won the’swarm architecture’ prize. The Indian Army just ordered a swarm drone from NewSpace for USD 15 million.
A Delhi Technology University team working with Adani Defence won the ‘communication architecture’ prize, while Dhaksha Unmanned Systems won the ‘drone architecture’ honour.
According to sources in the defence establishment, the results revealed on Sunday took into account the distinctive qualities supplied by each of the three organisations, and there was no clear winner.
NewSpace, on the other hand, is said to have performed admirably across the board.
The Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition, which began on 3 October 2018, was created by the Indian Air Force to stimulate the development of swarm drones for use in a variety of applications. The tournament was named after Late Air Commodore Mehar Singh, popularly known as ‘Baba’ Mehar Singh by his colleagues and admirers in the Indian Air Force.
The IAF claimed in a statement Sunday that it was created to provide unique design, development, manufacture, and production of “low cost-high impact” solutions for swarm drone technology. Only indigenous talent and indigenous start-ups were eligible to compete.
Future military theory operationalized in real time’
As previously reported in September, the winners will now be finalised, paving the stage for formal contracts to be signed.
Since the force is looking at a more complicated system than what has been shown so far, the businesses will receive support from select Base Repair Depots, which carry out significant repair and refurbishment of IAF aircraft and other equipment.
The companies will also get weapons from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
According to industry sources, the Indian armed services have operationalized a future combat doctrine in real time by incorporating swarm drones into their capabilities matrix.
According to the sources, India’s capabilities puts it on level with countries like the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Turkey, who are all adding swarm drones to their arsenals.
In 2018, the IAF received 154 applications for the Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition from throughout the country.
In the first round, 54 people were shortlisted, and 20 people were chosen in the second round.
These 20 were then sent to Pokhran to show 10 drones with a 10-kilometer range and 10 medical drops. The IAF compensated the firms with Rs 25 lakh apiece.
In GPS-denied, rogue drone, and anti-drone jamming scenarios, the top five from the 20 were assigned the job of showing a 50-kilometer range with 20 drones and 20 medical or emergency relief drops.