AFINDEX 2023: ‘Varuna’ – India’s first Personal Aerial Vehicle Attracts African Nations Interest

Defence Industry

Pune: At the recently concluded second edition of AFINDEX 2023 in Pune, 75 indigenous technologies were on display on the sidelines as part of the summit’s goal of defence partnership and defence industry outreach to the African continent.

Among these, India’s first indigenous Personal Aerial Vehicle `Varuna’ from Sagar Defence Engineering attracted keen interest of participating African nations. There were indigenous products from 32 industries which were manufactured under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s `Make in India’ initiative. Besides the participants of the African nations, there were Army Chiefs as well as representatives of Chiefs from the region.

While nine countries including Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, and Niger sent in their contingents to participate in the exercise, observers from eleven African nations were present. A two day conclave of the army commanders and other senior officers from the region was also organised on the sidelines of the exercise.

AFINDEX presented a platform to display modern drone technology at a global scale and also encouraged African countries to explore indigenous defence equipment to boost national security.

“Varuna is the country’s first autonomous platform designed and developed indigenously, with the goal of revitalizing urban air mobility. Through vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and electric propulsion technology, Varuna can be utilised as an air ambulance for emergency medical evacuations along with executing search and rescue missions in remote areas,” said Capt Nikunj Parashar, Managing Director and founder, Sagar Defence Engineering.

Elaborating further, he said that Varuna has been designed for autonomous takeoff and landing, even on moving platforms. And this is a result of intensive R&D.  It has been created as a dual-use technology, where the military forces will be the original early adopters and utilise the technology first before it is applied to future urban air mobility as it can travel 25 kms in the air with a payload capacity of up to 100 kilograms on board.

“We believe autonomous systems may contribute to a multimodal mobility system, including Urban Air Mobility which leverages the sky to better link people to cities and regions,” said Capt Nikunj.

Displaying to delegates from the African continent was an opportunity to showcase the capability of the Indian indigenous defence industry and also enhance combat readiness, he concluded.