A pilotless plane that can fly autonomously over remote areas of India is to be unveiled by the country’s Defence Minister today.
The maiden flight of the Indian Air Force’s new unmanned aircraft (UAV) program is expected to take place in the coming weeks and is expected have the potential to be used to test out the capabilities of the technology.
The new aircraft will be piloted by an operator in India and the operator will be given the option of sharing data between the two aircraft, Defence Minister Kapil Sibal said in a statement.
The two aircraft will have sensors, cameras and a computer that will analyse and control the aircraft, he said.
India has more than 20 UAVs that can carry cameras, radar and other sensors, but is currently using its drones only for surveillance and counter-terrorism missions.
The country’s military is also looking to take part in the project to develop autonomous systems that can operate independently of a pilot, Sibal told a news conference.
This is an innovative program to test our UAV capabilities.
The pilotless aircraft can be used for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, as well as target-acquisition and tracking.
Sibal said that the pilotless UAV would be able to fly in urban and remote areas.
The aircraft, which will be developed by the defence ministry, will have an engine capable of a maximum speed of Mach 2.8 and can take off vertically or horizontally.
It will be equipped with a range of sensors, including infrared and sonar, infrared vision and the ability to detect and track moving targets.