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Monday, 23 May 2016

IIT-K’s UAVs land on defence radar

Three smart multi-function unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed by the IIT-Kanpur have reportedly evoked a response from the Indian defence forces as they could possibly be used in military operations and are cheaper than those currently being sourced from foreign countries. A defence team is expected to visit the institute soon to see a demonstration of the UAVs that could be used for surveillance in insurgency-hit
areas as well as in battlefields for various operations. The UAVs are fitted with gadgets of various kinds, including electro-optical and thermal cameras and are ready for mass production, claimed IIT-K sources. The first UAV has been named as SWATI or Silent Watch Aircraft For Tactical Intelligence. SWATI requires a small runway of only 50 to 80 meters to take off and can have a maximum take-off weight of 16 to 22 kgs. It could fly with either fuel or batteries. With petrol, it can stay in air for about eight hours and with batteries it has a four-hour endurance. It can keep an eye over an area of 100 kms. “A key feature of this UAV is that it can transmit videos live to the base station. SWATI is auto pilot, follows command from the ground and is ready for production,” said Prof Deepu Philip of IIT-Kanpur on Monday. Prof Philip has worked on the development on these UAVs along with Prof A K Ghosh, Prof Nischal Verma and Prof Satyaki Roy. A team of 30 students has also worked tirelessly with their professors to make these UAVs a reality. He further claimed that if a UAV with a configuration similar to SWATI is procured from outside India it will cost Rs 2 crores, whereas in bulk production its cost will slip down to Rs 20 to Rs 30 lakh only. The second UAV is AMITA or Autonomous Man-packable Intelligent Tactical Aircraft and does not require a runaway to be launched. The light-weight AMITA can be carried in three backpacks. It can be hand-launched and weighs just six to eight kgs. It can remain in the air for more than three hours. “AMITA can be guided and navigated to reach its command post from where it is being operated (meaning that this UAV can be guided to reach its navigator’s location). If the navigator changes its ground location, AMITA can reach the new location,” Prof Philip informed TOI.

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