Army to buy drones to enhance high altitude surveillance capabilities


The army is seeking new drones which can operate in the extreme weather conditions found at high altitudes.

The Defence Ministry has issued a request for information (RFI) for purchase of two versions of surveillance quadcopters or drones which can be deployed at above as well as below 4,000 meters above mean sea levels .

The surveillance quadcopters should have self destruction mechanism in case of capture by hostile persons and should be hardened against electromagnetic (EW) interference with anti-jamming and anti-spoofing properties, the RFI stated.

Use in conflict

Vendors have been requested to forward information on the products they can offer, with the use of quadcopters increasing not just for surveillance activities, but also in conflict, as demonstrated by the Ukraine crisis where Ukrainian armed forces have used drones to attack Russian military vehicles as well as missile launching platforms.

Listing out the technical parameters, the RFI says that a surveillance quadcopter should consist of, among other things, one Aerial Vehicle (AV) per system, one colour day video camera, monochromatic night thermal sensor, and one set of spare battery.

The “all-up weight” of a drone should not be more than 10 kg (+ 10 per cent) and “should be suitable to withstand high altitude strong wind upto 20 knots”.


The drones should be able to fly, each way, no less than 5 km. The surveillance quadcopter for high altitude “must be capable of launch from not less than 5500 m Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) and should be capable of achieving not less than 500 m Above Ground Level (AGL),” said the RFI.

Both version of drones must have launch and landing capability on an unprepared area of not more than 25 meter x 25 meter and must be capable of two person handling.

The quadcopters are supposed to operate in extreme conditions; the high-altitude drones will have to fly in maximum temperature between 40 ̊C to 45 ̊C and minimum between -20 ̊C to -10 ̊C, said the army. They should have a life to withstand 500 landings, while the standard version should last for at least 1,000 landings.

Last year too the army had given contract to an Indian firm for supply of light weight high altitude drones.

Published on

May 05, 2022

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