India Navy to buy 15 ship-borne drones to enhance surveillance

Photo: Swedish firm SAAB AB had showcased the Skeldar as a maritime drone at the DefExpo in Lucknow earlier this year.

New Delhi: The Indian Navy will soon buy 15 naval ship-borne drones to perform surveillance and reconnaissance roles at sea, in a bid to boost maritime domain awareness.

The Indian Navy has issued a Request for Information on Feb 24 and has sought responses from interested global firms within four weeks.

The Indian government would be open to the possibility of floating the Request for Proposal by December this year under the ‘Make in India‘ categories of the Defence Procurement Procedure. A decision in this regard will be taken based on the responses to the RFI.

The Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System (NSUAS) will be used for surveillance and reconnaissance, Sea lines of Communication (SLOC) monitoring and Coastal/Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism, assistance in Search and Rescue and assistance in Maritime Domain Awareness.

“The NSUAS will be launched from a ship and used for Surveillance including SIGINT, Target Acquisition, Reconnaissance and building Maritime Domain Awareness around a Task Group. The secondary roles of NSUAS would include anti-piracy, anti-terrorist activities and assist in Search and Rescue (SAR),” the RFI document said.

The Indian Navy anticipates that the first system would be delivered within 12 months from the date of signing of contract and one system every month thereafter.

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