Hyderabad: Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Wednesday received the first Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Drishti 10 Starliner from the Adani Defence and Aerospace (ADA) in Hyderabad.
A contract was signed between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the ADA 10 months ago for the supply of four MALE drones for the Indian Navy and Army. Drishti is an advanced surveillance and reconnaissance platform with 36 hours of endurance and 450 kg payload capacity. It is the only all-weather military platform with NATO’s STANAG 4671 certification for the UAV system’s airworthiness.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony at the Adani Aerospace Park, Admiral Kumar said the induction of the UAV will most probably happen next month after the training of the personnel handling the platform gets over by mid-January. It will then be shifted from Hyderabad to Porbandar for induction into naval maritime surveillance operations shared by other platforms such as MQ-9 Sea Guardian.
“The importance of autonomous systems in the rapidly evolving and dynamic tech-infused wars of the contemporary world needs no emphasis. Sitting in our homes, we continue to witness their disproportionate impact in the ongoing conflicts in Europe and West Asia. Further, the recent incidents in the Northern Arabian Sea amply demonstrate the challenges posed by such systems when they fall in the hands of non-state actors and terrorists,” he added.
The Naval chief also said that in the last 40 to 42 days, 35 drone attacks took place on ships either owned or linked to Israel, mainly in the Red Sea, North Arabian Sea, and Central Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy has collected samples of debris from three vessels and is examining them forensically to identify the origin of the attack.
Ashish Rajvanshi, CEO of Adani Defence & Aerospace, said, “Our on-time delivery to the Navy is a testament to our robust quality management processes and excellent support from our partners, who worked diligently over the last 10 months from contract to delivery.”
Jeet Adani, vice president, of Adani Enterprises, said the recent geopolitical events have reinforced the convergence of physical, informational, and cognitive tactics underpinned by intelligence, and information processing capabilities.