Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled the second edition of the ‘Mehar Baba’ swarm drone competition by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for Indian start-ups to develop a swarm drone based system to detect foreign objects on aircraft operating surfaces. This was unveiled at the IAF Commanders Conference, which began on Wednesday.
Mr. Singh also addressed the Air Force commanders before the start of the deliberations. “He covered the challenges being faced on the northern and western borders and expressed his satisfaction at the way the armed forces have been able to respond to emerging situations,” the IAF said in a statement. “He brought out that the current geopolitical situation has again highlighted the need for indigenisation.” it stated.
‘Accidental ‘ firing of missile
The conference comes in the backdrop of an ongoing Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the incident in which a supersonic missile, flying at three times the speed of sound, was “accidentally released” on March 9, ending up 124 km inside Pakistan. Mr. Singh said in Parliament that a review of the Standard Operating Procedures for “operations, maintenance and inspections” was being conducted.
Stating that the during the three-day conference, the Air Force Commanders would discuss important issues related to future challenges in a hi-tech and evolving operational scenario, the IAF noted, “The theme for this Conference is ‘optimising human resources’ and the focus will be on conduct of operations in a smart and efficient manner.”
Mitigation of threats posed by drones would also be brainstormed during the conference, it said.
Swarm drone system
As per the conditions, the swarm drone system should be able to scan and detect sub-centimetre size foreign objects on aircraft operating surfaces. The specifications of the surfaces have been defined.
The system should be able to carry a range of payloads and sensors, have image correction ability, provide alerts and provide accurate location and discernable image of foreign objects.
The system should also be able to operate in GPS denied environment, complete operating cycle within 30 minutes and operate day and night and in reduced visibility as well as light windy conditions.