NewSpace’s MTOW UAV with 25-kg Payload Tested at World’s Highest Motorable Pass

Indian Army
The team that carried out the test at Umling La Pass in Ladakh (Courtesy image: indianexpress.com)

New Delhi: Bengaluru-based firm NewSpace Research and Technologies has claimed that it has successfully tested a 100-kg Max Take Off Weight (MTOW) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at an altitude of 19,024 feet at Ladakh’s Umling La pass on July 9. MTOW includes the weight of the drone and the payload.

Sameer Joshi, CEO of NewSpace, speaking to a media outlet said that the company has successfully demonstrated carriage of 25 kg of useful payload from the 5,800m high pass, with a radius of action greater than shown by the DJI FlyCart 30 drone of China at Mount Everest base camp in April 2024.

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During the flight testing in Ladakh, the NewSpace drone flew to an altitude of 6,200m, said Sameer Joshi.

Umling La pass also happens to be the highest motorable pass in the world. This is a new world record at high altitude for a 100-kg MTOW class drone for High Altitude Operations., Joshi claimed. He said their product offers a great value for money to support autonomous drone operations towards civilian and military use cases.

“It will especially give a huge boost to support logistics carriage, disaster and rescue events and medical relief in the higher regions of J&K, Uttarakhand, and the North Eastern states,” he added.

Offering a huge reduction in cost per hour of manned flights in region, the NewSpace drone can also augment the Ministry of Defence’s air maintenance sorties at high altitude. A Cheetah helicopter can carry around 25-75 kg load at around same altitude with much more cost per sortie.

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Amidst stand-off between China and India in the Himalayas, private companies in both the countries are engaging in competitive development of logistics drones.