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Indian Army’s ADB & DFI Sign MoU to Develop High-Impact Drones; Launches ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ Programme

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Army Design Bureau inks pact with DFI to develop high-impact drones

The Army Design Bureau (ADB) and the Drone Federation of India (DFI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop high-impact drones for Indian soldiers.

  • According to the MoU, DFI and ADB will work together on the roadmap planning, research, testing, manufacturing, and adoption of drones, counter-drones, and related technologies that the Indian Army will use in its operations. 

In accordance with Atmanirbharta in the field of defence manufacture, the Indian Army and DFI launched the “Him Drone-a-thon” programme on August 08, 2022.

Aim: To stimulate and offer focused opportunities for the Indian drone ecosystem to build ground-breaking drone capabilities for serving the needs of frontline troops.  

Principle: ‘Good Available Indigenously’ is better than the ‘Best Available Globally’. 

DFI and ADB will host the event as part of their collaboration.

  • The event will invite proposals for the development of drone-based solutions to help Indian Army operations in the hilly terrain of the Himalayas.
  • Selected participants will receive mentoring and field visits from the ADB, which will expose the Indian industry to real world operational scenarios.

‘Him Drone-a-thon’ Programme 

i.The ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ programme is a Pan-India collaboration amongst all stakeholders, including industry, academia, software developers, and drone product manufacturers. 

ii.It will be done in stages, with quantifiable factors (such as altitude, weight, range, endurance, etc.) being gradually increased based on proven abilities. 

iii. The following categories are included as an initial point towards development:

  • Logistics/ Load carrying Drone in High Altitude Areas.
  • Autonomous Surveillance/ Search & Rescue Drone.
  • Micro/ Nano Drones for Fighting in Built Up Areas. 

iv.It will explore drone applications in logistics and load carrying at a high altitude of 13,200 feet (ft) above mean sea level (AMSL).

  • It will aslo carry out autonomous surveillance, search and rescue (between 9,000 and 13,000 ft AMSL) along the India’s northern and western borders with China and Pakistan, respectively. 

Army Design Bureau (ADB)

i.The Army Design Bureau (ADB) is the nodal agency of the Indian Army and spearheads the Make in India initiative of the Indian Army.  

ii.It facilitates Research and Development (R&D) efforts with industry, academia, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

  • In order to boost indigenization, it also offers suggestions and helps them understand user requirements while initiating design and development cases with the industry, with the intention of boosting indigenization. 

Drone Federation of India (DFI)

The DFI is a non-profit, industry-led organisation that promotes and works to establish a safer and more scalable unmanned aviation industry in India. 

  • Its members include Asteria Aerospace (Karnataka), Quidich Innovation Labs (Maharashtra), AutoMicroUAS (Kerala), Aarav Unmanned Systems (Karnataka), and Indrones (Maharashtra).  
  • Smit Shah is the President of Drone Federation of India

About Indian Army:

Chief of the Army Staff – General Manoj Pande 
Founded – 1895
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Theme of The Year 2022: “In Stride with The Future”