A company founded by three alumni of the IIT-Bombay and also incubated by the top engineering institute has signed a ₹ 130-crore deal with the Indian Army to make drones for carrying out surveillance operations in high-altitude areas.
The company in a statement on its website said it will provide the Indian Army an "undisclosed quantities of a high-altitude variant of ideaForge's Switch UAV." "ideaForge has been awarded this contract after it emerged as the only vendor that qualified the operational requirements in an evaluation done in real-world conditions, for a fast-track procurement," the company said. Switch UAV is a fixed-wing VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) craft that can be deployed at high-altitude and harsh environment for day and night surveillance. It is man-portable and has the highest time-on-target compared to any other UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) in its class, the company claimed.
The company, ideaForge Technology, was founded at the IIT-Bombay incubator SINE in 2007 by Ankit Mehta, Rahul Singh and Ashish Bhat. "Congratulations to SINE and our hearty congratulations to Ankit, Rahul and Ashish. It is worth mentioning that they were bestowed with the Young Alumni Achiever award last year," IIT-Bombay posted on its official Facebook page.
The order is also expected to give a fillip to the Modi government’s policy of Atmanirbhar Bharat and indicates the promotion of startups in the country is beginning to pay off. The development comes at a time when China is increasingly using drones for surveillance in the Ladakh area. China has also given drones to Pakistan which are being used for supplying arms and ammunition to terrorists across the border.
The Indian armed forces have shot down some of these drones in the region. The Indian army is also importing advanced drones from Israel to boost the country’s defence preparedness..