New Delhi: In keeping with the government’s policy of encouraging Drone Technology, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has just concluded its maiden contract for 10 multicopter (VTOL) drones with Drone startup Sagar Defence Engineering Private Limited which will on induction boost interdiction capabilities as well as boost marine surveillance of the ICG. ICG had issued open RFP for procuring tender under Make in India route and after undergoing rigorous trials on high seas, Sagar Defence Engineering qualified.
Capt Nikunj Parashar, Managing Director and founder Sagar Defence Engineering confirmed this. “This is one of the technologies which were showcased earlier this year during Swavlamban in New Delhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“These drones have also been acquired by the Indian Navy and on behalf of the government these have also been gifted to the Sri Lankan Navy by the Chief of Naval staff recently,” says Capt Nikunj Parashar.
According to an official statement, the drones ICG is getting has the capability to be launched both from the ships while underway, as well as Shore Stations. These drones are expected to play an important role in the reach of ICG during surveillance and security operations. They can also be deployed for Search and Rescue operations (SAR) – both by day and night. To meet emerging new threats in the country’s maritime zones and search and rescue areas, around 100 additional drones are expected to be inducted by 2025 in ICG.
There were six companies competing for this contract. These include: IdeaForge (Mumbai), Raphe Mphibir (Noida), Aerosense Technologies Private Ltd, EndureAir Systems Private Ltd., Indigenous Robotic Unmanned Systems Private Ltd., and Sagar Defence Engineering Private Limited.
“We have developed special technology which can be integrated into drones for landing and take-off from moving platforms,” the founder of the company explains. According to him, drones generally land and take off from land and it is extremely difficult to land and take off from moving platforms like cars, Jeeps, tanks and warships. “The drone is capable of flying up to 20 kms at the same time it can take off and land from moving ships up to speeds 30 kmph and withstand wind up to 45 kmph.”
In an earlier interaction, Capt Parashar had explained that the drone for the Indian Navy has been specifically made for it and the landing and the taking off technology has been developed in tandem with Indian Navy DSR. `Varuna’ drone for the Navy developed along with NTDAC (Naval Technology Development acceleration cell) has been delivered and it is the first time that 30 such drones can land and take off from warships.
The company has also demonstrated personnel air mobility vehicles to the Deputy PM of Australia during his visit to INS Hansa in Goa.