Indian Navy looks for rotary UAVs

The Indian Navy has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for theprocurement of a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned AerialVehicle (UAV).
The RFI, issued earlier this month, is for the procurement of,presumably, Naval Rotary UAVs (NRUAV). While there has been talk,recently, of the possibility of Northrop Grumman’s Fire Scout beingprocured by the Indian Navy, especially in light of the delays in theconversion of the Chetak helicopter into an unmanned platform, thenavy’s stand is all vendors will have to go through this process begunwith the RFI.

Besides Northrop Grumman’s Fire Scout, the other contenders could beEADS’ Orka 1200, Boeing’s Hummingbird and Israel Aerospace Industries’(IAI) Malat’s NRUAV. But besides the Fire Scout, the navy understandsthe others to be still under development. The navy had a chance toconsider the Austrian Schiebel’s Camcopter but has deemed it to smallto match its requirement.
The problem India has faced in converting theChetak into a unmanned platform is in developing systems for landing and take-off from moving platforms like the decks of warships.
Not surprisingly, the purpose of the RFI, according to defensesources is to gather information on existing systems in the market witha view for possible procurement. An understood benefit of suchprocurement is insight into how such systems have been made tosuccessfully operate off moving warships.
The RFI asks for specifications relating to range, endurance,payload, launch and recovery systems. The RFI also inquires whether therespective UAVs have stealth features and the latest avionics as wellas whether the UAV can be fitted with weapons.
In other news, the Indian Navy has denied reports of the departureof the Russian Akula-class submarine Nerpa for India. Reports duringthe day from Moscow stated the nuclear-powered submarine, to be leasedto the Indian Navy, had slipped its moorings.
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