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Indian Navy looks for rotary UAVs

The Indian Navy has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the
procurement of a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (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 being
procured by the Indian Navy, especially in light of the delays in the
conversion of the Chetak helicopter into an unmanned platform, the
navy’s stand is all vendors will have to go through this process begun
with the RFI.

Besides Northrop Grumman’s Fire Scout, the other contenders could be
EADS’ Orka 1200, Boeing’s Hummingbird and Israel Aerospace Industries’
(IAI) Malat’s NRUAV. But besides the Fire Scout, the navy understands
the others to be still under development. The navy had a chance to
consider the Austrian Schiebel’s Camcopter but has deemed it to small
to 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 defense
sources is to gather information on existing systems in the market with
a view for possible procurement. An understood benefit of such
procurement is insight into how such systems have been made to
successfully operate off moving warships.
The RFI asks for specifications relating to range, endurance,
payload, launch and recovery systems. The RFI also inquires whether the
respective UAVs have stealth features and the latest avionics as well
as whether the UAV can be fitted with weapons.
In other news, the Indian Navy has denied reports of the departure
of the Russian Akula-class submarine Nerpa for India. Reports during
the day from Moscow stated the nuclear-powered submarine, to be leased
to the Indian Navy, had slipped its moorings.
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