The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Nishant for the Central Reserve Police Force for use in the Naxal-hit areas of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.
Giving details of the UAV project during a media interaction at Defexpo 2014 here, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said the vehicles being developed for CRPF would be able to help the forces trace and track down the operatives in even thick forests. The scientists of DRDO have worked closely with CRPF in developing the UAVs.
CRPF had expressed the desire to procure 16 such UAVs for its operations. The force was earlier using the UAVs of National Technical Research Organisation and Indian Air Force, which were not as effective in operations in thick forests. DRDO is working on lower frequency radars that will be able to penetrate foliage. The DRDO chief said the Army is also procuring Nishant for operations but its requirement was much different.
The Nishant UAV is being developed for primarily task of intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also for reconnaissance, training, surveillance, target designation, artillery fire correction, damage assessment, etc. This 380 kg UAV has an endurance of 4 h 30 min and can cruise with the speed of 185 km/h.
It can be launched by Tatra-truck based Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) and can be recovered by a Parachute System, thus eliminating the need for a runway as in case of conventional take-off and landing with wheels. Nishant has completed development phase and user trials.