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India seeks UAVs for Kashmir border surveillance

Oct. 18, 2013 at 6:01 AM   |   Comments

NEW DELHI, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- India has started a global tender for miniature unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol its border regions with Pakistan and China.

The army's Northern Command issued a request for proposal for 49 UAVs specifically to gather intelligence and carry out reconnaissance in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The UAVs will monitor the western Line of Control with Pakistan and that of the state's eastern Ladakh region bordering China, the Indian Express reported.

A senior officer of Electric and Mechanical Engineers Branch at Northern Command Headquarters said bids are invited from original equipment manufacturers as well as their permanent registered authorized distributors.

The UAVs should be supplied as a complete package, including electronics sensors, propulsion system, on-board camera, control mechanism, trans-receivers, re-chargeable batteries and packing case.

Vehicle weight should be below 22 lbs and it must be capable of flying at an altitude of 3,280 feet.

The vehicles should have the capability to take-off and land without a runway and be launched by hand, have an auto-pilot and a mission preprogramming system.

Northern Command started the procurement process in light of frequent cease-fire violations, the Express report said.

The mini-UAVs also will be used for some counter terrorist operations in the state.

Security concerns have been mounting in the region since August when an increasing number of incursions by Pakistani and Chinese troops have been observed, the Express reported.

Pakistani troops have violated the border truce more than 130 times -- the highest number in the past eight years.

Many international manufacturers of UAVs are looking at developing vehicles within India, especially as the Indian rupee is falling in value, making imported UAVs increasingly expensive, the Times of India newspaper reported last month.

Lockheed Martin is with the Aerial Systems Team at Delhi Technological University to sponsor students working on UAV design and testing.

"Aarush X-1 was the first UAV developed under this project, which is capable of an autonomous take-off and navigation," Lakshay Chauhan, a final year automobile engineering student said.

"The whole process was carried out on the university campus including the composite fabrication and integration," he said.

"Indigenous, low-cost solutions could revolutionize the Indian UAV industry. It could impact areas such as crop surveying, geographical surveying and pipeline and transmission-line monitoring."

The army's mini-UAV procurement announcement comes as another soldier was killed in a skirmish along the LoC with Pakistan.

The soldier was killed when Pakistani troops shelled an Indian post in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, New Delhi TV reported. There followed intermittent gun fire exchanges for two hours.

Pakistan troops violated the ceasefire twice in 12 hours on Tuesday, a defense spokesman told the Indo-Asian News Service. The spokesman also said the recent shelling was the eighth incident of a ceasefire violation in less than a week.

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