Garuda Aerospace: Boosting Defence with Desi Drones

Garuda Aerospace, a leading drone start-up, has emerged as a key player in shaping the future of the aerospace industry with its cutting-edge technology. It is bolstering India's military capabilities with its indigenous drone manufacturing, aiding in critical missions, and propelling the nation towards becoming a global hub in the rapidly evolving UAV landscape

By Agnishwar Jayaprakash

Independence Day

Technological advancements have significantly impacted various industries such as agriculture, transport, defence, etc., fundamentally transforming their operations and fostering market growth. These innovations have played a crucial role in overcoming the limitations of traditional systems and addressing existing challenges. In the field of aircraft operations, where issues like pilot shortages, high maintenance costs, and the need for specialised infrastructure were prevalent, the emergence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, proved to be a game-changer.

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Initially developed to protect military pilots from hazardous missions, small drones quickly transitioned into the commercial market, finding applications across diverse fields. This shift unlocked new possibilities for UAVs, leading to their adoption in numerous industries, each benefiting from the advantages they offer. From agriculture and construction to cinematography and delivery services, drones have become indispensable assets, offering unparalleled flexibility, affordability, and safety.

Garuda Aerospace: Empowering India’s Defence

Garuda Aerospace’s application extends to critical situations and enhances situational awareness and response capabilities for law enforcement agencies and security personnel. Garuda Aerospace’s AI-powered drones are set to transform last-mile delivery services by efficiently bypassing traffic congestion and enabling quick package deliveries

Garuda Aerospace has emerged as a key player in India’s drone sector. Garuda Aerospace’s application extends to critical situations and enhances situational awareness and response capabilities for law enforcement agencies and security personnel. Garuda Aerospace’s AI-powered drones are set to transform last-mile delivery services by efficiently bypassing traffic congestion and enabling quick package deliveries. Their autonomous navigation capabilities make them valuable for reaching remote locations and providing cost-effective solutions for delivering medical supplies, essential goods, and emergency response items, especially during natural disasters.

Autonomous drones are playing a pivotal role in environmental monitoring and conservation efforts by accessing remote and inaccessible areas. Garuda Aerospace has also partnered with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) to develop a facility which is focused on the defence sector as the drones are designed keeping in mind the national security threats. The drones are equipped with diverse payloads that can support the forces on the border.

Global Expansion and Strategic Partnerships

Garuda Aerospace has established numerous partnerships and alliances to enhance its capabilities and expand its global presence. With over 750 clients served, Garuda Aerospace has expanded its operations to countries such as Malaysia, Africa, South America, Panama, UAE, and France. The company applied for the PLI scheme after the drone yatra, where 100 drones simultaneously took off in 100 villages across India, enabling live tracking, data collection, and processing. This landmark event marked a significant milestone in the drone industry. Garuda Aerospace has forged strategic partnerships with renowned companies and institutions to drive advancements in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and drone services.

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Deploying Homegrown Sky Sentinels

Garuda Aerospace has sights on the defence and homeland security sector. It has forged several strategic partnerships with global giants for joint development. The company has demonstrated their capabilities to the DRDO, CISF, CRPF, Indo Tibetan Border Force, NDRF, BSF, and Army Design Bureau. Garuda Drones impacted the defence sector recently by serving the Indian Army and also launching their Made in India Stealth Drone – Vajra. The drone has been extensively used in stealth surveillance and surgical strikes for several years.

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Multipurpose Drones for Strategic Operations

Garuda Aerospace has been developing armed tactical drones, anti-drones, long-range surveillance UAVs, weaponised drones, tethered drones for communication, and payload capacity drones for troop supply delivery. Garuda Aerospace has developed all of these indigenously for the Indian defence forces in the last few years.

Garuda Aerospace will be offering its multipurpose drones for strategic and tactical operations to the Indian Army. Last year, Garuda Aerospace was invited by the Army to dispatch its technical team to undertake modifications and assist in maintaining timelines and operations during their duties. The Army intends to further the usage of drones in its day-to-day activities and bolster the effectiveness of special missions by detecting and disrupting transnational organised criminal networks.

The Evolving Landscape of the Drone Sector

The global drone industry has been witnessing rapid technological advancements, with innovations such as autonomous systems, miniaturisation, extended range, and sense-and-avoid technology. Drone swarming, in particular, has emerged as a potential game-changer. While India’s drone industry has shown progress with innovative start-ups focusing on various applications, there is room for further development in terms of regulatory frameworks and large-scale indigenous manufacturing of advanced drones. Currently, India primarily deploys drones for surveillance, reconnaissance, and counter-terrorism operations, with discussions about weaponisation ongoing, but no confirmed reports of offensive armed drone deployments.

The Growing Potential

The global drone market is projected to reach a staggering US$ 54 billion by 2025. In India, the estimated potential for drone manufacturing stands at around US$ 4.2 billion by 2025, expected to surge to an impressive US$ 23 billion by 2030. This growth will significantly contribute to India’s ambitious goal of a US$ 5 trillion economy. With the Government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Make in India) initiative actively supporting domestic enterprises by refining policies and regulations to promote local manufacturing, the aim is to make India a global hub for drone manufacturing by 2030, with substantial government support further propelling the industry’s growth.

Aiding Self-Reliance in Defence

India’s quest for self-reliance in defence has become increasingly apparent as the nation seeks to reduce its dependence on foreign imports and enhance national security. By domestically manufacturing drones, India aims to secure its borders effectively, protect critical infrastructure, and maintain a robust defence posture. Drones have proven their worth in conflict and peaceful periods, mitigating risks to pilots and augmenting the aeronautical capabilities of the defence forces.

A Wide Range of Applications

Military drones are now utilised across diverse areas such as photography, surveillance, precision agriculture, remote sensing, aerial inspections, battle damage assessment, delivery services, construction, search and rescue, wildlife preservation, 2D and 3D mapping, and hurricane tracking. Many countries, including India, are actively involved in research and development programs to explore and expand the potential applications of UAVs in military and defence contexts.

Beyond military applications, drones have also found utility in disaster response and humanitarian aid, playing a crucial role in assessing damage during natural calamities and delivering essential supplies to remote and inaccessible areas.

Collaborating with Global Giants

Garuda Aerospace has been developing armed tactical drones, anti-drones, long-range surveillance UAVs, weaponised drones, tethered drones for communication, and payload capacity drones for troop supply delivery. Garuda Aerospace has developed all of these indigenously for the Indian defence forces in the last few years

Garuda Aerospace is also in discussions with leading aerospace and defence contractors looking for Indian manufacturers capable of offset manufacturing. The collaboration with Cognizant has brought advanced digital capabilities and innovative solutions to scale for enterprises seeking improved agility, productivity, and outcomes. The partnership with Lockheed Martin has facilitated the development of strong data processing capabilities and the creation of joint algorithms, catering to various drone applications in defence, agriculture, mining, large-scale mapping, and industrial inspection.

Driving Technological Advancements

These partnerships and alliances serve as valuable platforms for knowledge exchange, expertise sharing, and resource utilization, driving the development of cutting-edge technologies in the drone services industry. Collaborating with international and national partners enables Garuda Aerospace to expand its market reach, adhere to regulatory requirements, and provide its drone services globally while ensuring compliance and fostering trust among customers and stakeholders.

India’s Transformative Journey with Drones

India’s transformative journey with drones exemplifies its commitment to self-reliance in defence and technological innovation. The rapid development of indigenous drone technology has fortified the country’s military strength and stimulated economic growth. As India continues to embrace the potential of drones, Garuda Aerospace is poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.

-The writer is Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace