The Indian Army is seeking unmanned aerial platforms to better direct artillery fire, The Times of India reported.

A request for proposal for 80 small, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), 10 runway-independent RPAS, 44 upgraded long-range surveillance systems, and 106 inertial navigation systems will be soon issued.

Expected Drone Features

The army is looking to procure small, man-portable RPAS with a weight of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and endurance of 90 minutes. 

“The new smaller RPAS, with an operational range from 20 km to 60-90 km (12.4 miles to 37-56 miles), in turn, are needed by artillery units for tactical over-the-hill surveillance in high-altitude areas,” the outlet quoted a source as saying.

The runway-independent RPAS should have an endurance of four hours and a vertical takeoff and landing capacity at an altitude of 13,000 feet (3,960 meters). 

“With electro-optical payloads, the RPAS should be ideal for a dynamic sensor-shooter linkage, reducing fixed-wing launch and recovery challenges.”

To Look Deeper, Direct, and Correct Fire

The army developed a “habitat,” supporting a range of 350 howitzers, 450 tanks, and 35,000 soldiers along the border with China in eastern Ladakh since the border clashes with Chinese troopers occurred in 2019.

The RPAS, with day and night functional capability, will help forward posts “to look deeper and then direct, correct and analyze artillery fire.” 

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