The Indian Army has signed a deal with drone manufacturer ideaForge to use its high-altitude surveillance SWITCH UAV. The $20 million deal was made after being the only drone to pass the operational requirements during a real-world evaluation.
Thanks to the partnership, ideaForge will secure its position as the number-one drone manufacturer and allow the Indian Army to keep production local.
The push for drones by the army is part of a bigger initiative to modernize its defenses and equipment to stay inline with the rest of the world. SWITCH UAV will allow the army to gain high-altitude surveillance on its enemies and anything else it finds of interest.
ideaForge CEO Ankit Mehta shared:
SWITCH UAV is the culmination of insights and knowledge we have gained over years of experience in helping the Indian Forces operationalize UAVs in their ranks. The trials saw about a dozen national and global players compete to meet the operational requirements. SWITCH UAV is the only product that cleared the Indian Army’s stringent product trials and surpassed expectations.
The SWITCH UAV is a portable drone that soldiers can carry on foot and has a range up to 15 km (9 miles). It can stay in the air for up to 120 minutes on a single charge and withstand winds of up to 20 kph (12 mph).
The drone comes stocked with a dual-sensor payload that allows for day and night surveillance missions. A 720p camera with 25x optical zoom can locate and zoom in on targets during the day, while a 480p thermal camera is used during night-time operations.
ideaForge executive chairman Ganapathy Subramaniam added:
A combination of world-class technology and a deep understanding of customer requirements has resulted in ideaForge bagging this contract against global competition. With the backing of reputed institutional investors such as WRVI, Infosys, and Qualcomm, ideaForge is all set to grow rapidly.
The ground station that goes along with the drone allows the camera to be controlled with an Xbox controller, while a laptop or tablet is used to program the flight and keep track of all the important data from the drone. It also features multiple GPS units, returns to home on a low battery or when the wind is too high.