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Indigenous India: Startup launches UAV at airshow
Posted On: Feb 12, 2011
An unrelated photo of India's UAV 'Nishant'
Defence Minister A K Antony's call for indigenisation has found a strong votary in a group of aviation entrepreneurs who have successfully built an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and are ready for a commercial roll out of their maiden product.
Swallow Systems, a group of four entreprenuers and aviation enthusiasts, which launched the Skimmer, a UAV, at Aero India 2011 said every part in the UAV "is built indigeneously, without a single foreign import component".
Skimmer, a 2.5 kg, portable, hand launched, battery operated UAV, provides real time video for around-the-corner, over-the-hill reconnaissance and surveillance and also target acquisition support for tactical units for mission planning, base security and route surveys.
The UAV can be used for aerial reconnaissance with recordable live video feed in the event of forest fires, natural calamities and for wildlife monitoring, said Siddharth Amin, Director of the firm.
"It can also be used for area mapping and perimeter surveillance by refineries", he said.
It could stay airborne for 60 minutes and be used in times of calamity to get preliminary data. Skimmer can return safely to base in case of loss of communication. It has a mobile base which makes it portable.
The UAV can be deployed in seven minutes and operated in a five km radius.It's GCS software includes an integrated Google maps, total route lenght displayed, auto detection of current location, distance and altitude warning while creating route.
Its ground control station has a built in GPS antennae for location.
The idea to develop a UAV sprang from the need to build an indigenous product that was completely manufactured using in house technology without any foreign imports, he said.
Skimmer is a product of over six years of research, continuous evaluation, 300 hours of flying in real world situation "It is cheaper by 60 per cent compared to a foreign product", he said.
The highlight of developing Skimmer is "it is completely self-funded with no help from any government or other quarters", said Ajay Parikh, promoter of the firm. The cost of development ran into a couple of crores of Rupees, they said.
Customers they are targetting include government organisations, large security agencies and groups involved in surveillance and monitoring activities. The group is also in the process of trying to get the required certification.
The market for such UAV, Ajay opined was around 300 units this year. The start up had capacity of 10-15 units a month.
"There have been serious enquiries about the product and we hope it translates into real time orders", said Amin.
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