India and Israel have entered into a new partnership under which Tel Aviv will help New Delhi in its development of remote vehicles.
A formal deal was signed at the Aero India 2005 exposition Feb. 9-13 here between senior officials of the respective defense ministries. Israel Aircraft Industries will assist state-owned Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) here, India’s leading unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) laboratory, to develop three new UAVs.
Moshe Keret, IAI’s chief executive, said Feb. 9 that UAVs are an important segment for collaboration, and IAI will be working on defense research and development programs to benefit both countries.
A senior ADE scientist on Feb. 10 said ADE and IAI will work to develop three remotely piloted vehicles:
• The Rustam medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV.
• The Pawan short-range UAV.
• The Gagan tactical UAV.
Currently, all of India’s UAV needs are met by Israel, and this partnership will ensure that it will continue to do so for at least the near future. Rustam
The $100 million Rustam UAV development program will begin officially in June, although work already has begun on planned subsystems. The ADE scientist said this drone is the test case for the overall joint UAV development program. IAI and ADE have begun preparatory work that involves testing major subsystems on a manned aircraft here.
The Rustam will be able to remain aloft for more than 24 hours and have a range of 300 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet. It will be able to use satellite links to transmit data, thereby extending its surveillance range beyond 1,000 kilometers.
The 1,100-kilogram UAV also will be equipped with a maritime patrol radar and electro-optic sensors from Israel, and an engine still to be determined. The electronic warfare and communication system will be indigenous.
This UAV will be used by India’s three military services and will not be exported, the ADE scientist said.
The Rustam program is likely to be completed in 48 months, during which four prototypes will be produced. Pawan
Development of the short-range, vehicle-mounted Pawan is expected to cost $33.2 million. Meant to equip Army divisions, the Pawan will be comparable in size and capabilities to Israel’s Eye View, Hermes 180 and Silver Arrow drones, the scientist said. The 120-kilogram Pawan will have day and night surveillance capability, an endurance of five hours and a range of 150 kilometers.
ADE plans to build four Pawan prototypes under this development program, with IAI electro-optic sensors for the payload and its own stabilizer platform. The engine will be purchased from outside India.
The ADE scientist said the Defence Ministry will approve the funding in April, and the four prototypes are likely to be completed within 24 months. Gagan
This $55.5 million program will see development of an advanced version of India’s Nishant UAV.
The Gagan UAV will have a range of 250 kilometers and an altitude of 20,000 feet.
ADE will procure synthetic aperture radar and electro-optic sensors from Israel, and develop its own electronic countermeasure systems.
ADE is likely to get the funding clearance in May, and four prototypes will be built within 42 months. •