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Aero India 2023

Lockheed Martin shows interest in UAV made in India

NEW DELHI (PTI): A team from Delhi Technical University (DTU) which developed an urban aerial UAV has claimed that lack of interest shown by DRDO and some private companies in their project led to a US defence major showing interest to take it further.

The DTU team claimed to have approached the DRDO to help and fund its programme to develop a small urban UAV and send it for participating in an unmanned aircraft systems competition in the United States.

"Last September, we had approached DRDO. They were taking a lot of time to decide on the issue and the process was also quite tedious. So, after some time, we decided to seek help from private Indian companies in the sector," DTU's UAV team leader Rochak Chadha claimed.

"Mahindra Defence Systems did not send any reply to our e-mails and Tata Advanced Systems (TAS) cited recession for its inability to fund our project," he said.

After facing rejection from the Indian Defence sector, the DTU undergraduate students went to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which partially funded the trip to the US and the development of the UAV, he added.

The UAV developed by the DTU team can fly at an altitude of around 500 feet for about 60 minutes and can keep on clicking pictures during its flight.
At the competition held between June 17-21 this year in US, the team won a couple of awards and impressed by its performance there, Lockheed Martin approached the DTU to fund the development of a next-generation urban UAV, now named ICARUS, as per its specifications, he said.

"The corporation will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the university and student group for work on this Urban UAV design. We will provide the broad parameters of design requirements to be implemented by the students," Lockheed Martin's Chief Technology Officer Ray Johnson said here today while announcing the future tie-up between DTU and the corporation.

For development of the future UAV, the corporation will provide the student group with Lockheed Martin generated design space to structure its efforts and the team will be required to conduct initial design and then develop a flying prototype.

DTU and Lockheed Martin are discussing on issues such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the quantum of investment required to be made in the programme.

DRDO's Aeronautical Development Establishment has been working on the development of UAVs such as Nishant for quite some time now and a very few of them have been deployed in the Services. The Armed forces heavily depend on the Israeli Searcher and Herons UAVs for their operational requirements.

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