The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Navy are working to create an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can take off from ships to slip into "danger zones" below the radar and return gathering inputs about enemy deployment inputs in littoral areas.
The two partners are also planning to rope in an Israeli partner to create an innovative product that can take off as a copter and not from an airstrip as conventional UAVs do. A UAV eliminates personnel risk and reduces cost of operation. Currently, India has an indigenous program called the Nishant and defense forces also use the Israeli Heron UAV. The current UAV focus in India is reconnaissance but defense strategists want capabilities where UAVs can be armed with low-intensity and short-engagement weaponry and use real fighter aircraft only if the UAV cannot manage the situation.
A prototype is expected to be unveiled in the Aero India 2007 this week in Bangalore.