Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Netra UAV to enter into production

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV) Netra developed by the Defence Research and Development (DRDO) will soon enter the production stage. Talking to Newsline, Alok Mukherjee, a senior scientist with the Research and Development Establishment (RnDE), a DRDO laboratory, said, “Netra has undergone successful trails and is soon expected to enter the production stage. Army as well as the paramilitary forces have shown keen interest in Netra.”

He, however, refused to comment on the orders or the details of the same. Netra, which has a live video and a thermal imaging equipment, was tested in the naxal-affected areas of Chhatisgarh in view of their utility to fight naxal menace in these areas.
Netra along with various other unmanned vehicles and robots would be on display at the Symposium of Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles at the RnDE campus on April 28 and 29. The two- day event, one of its kinds in the recent times, is expected to demonstrate Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) such as Daksh, which is already in the production stage along with Takshak, a smaller version of Daksh used to detect and diffuse Improvised Explosive Device (IED). “One of the major attractions of the event would be two underwater vehicles, one developed by National Institute of Oceanology (NIO), Goa, and the other by C-DAC, Trivandrum,” said Mukherjee.

The 1.5 kg UAV, called ‘Netra’, is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.

“The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.”, he told reporters here yesterday.

Dr. Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements of the security agencies concerned and their use.

IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge.

Apart from that, Netra is equipped with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations.

Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter.
In addition to that, the in-built fail-safe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery.

Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but research is being carried out to make Netra function even during monsoon