NAL Mini-UAVs demonstrated to CRPF and NSG
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the National Security Guard (NSG) have expressed interest in the National Aerospace Laboratories’ (NAL) SlyBird and Pushpak micro air vehicles (MAVs) for over-the-hill surveillance and intelligence gathering. Starting November 2013, Bengaluru-based NAL has conducted flight demonstrations in simulated operational settings in Manesar to show the two agencies what the MAVs can do. NAL has received feedback on both the MAVs and will be engineering improvements, including to the autopilot guidance control laws. The NSG, CRPF, ITBP and state police forces have long expressed interest in acquiring a limited aerial surveillance capability with MAVs. The ITBP and Punjab Police have received demonstrations of NAL’s Black Kite and SlyBird in Ladakh and Chandigarh respectively over the last few years. The Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) will see greater strides in the MAV space, including the entry into service of several of the systems under development. The Indian Army is still in the market to procure at least 200 mini-UAVs for its infantry units, for realtime surveillance and reconnaissance, detection of enemy movement, target detection, recognition, identification and acquisition and post-strike damage assessment, as earlier reported by SP’s, though it has so far only acquired the indigenous Nishant UAV. Incidentally, NAL has spun off a version of the Nishant’s NAL-DRDO 55 HP Wankel rotory engine for manned applications like powered hang gliders.