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Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

  • 15 Feb 2023
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Recently, a prototype of the Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) developed jointly by India and the United States is likely to be flight tested in 2023.

  • The U.S. delegation to Aero India 2023 also mentioned the possible participation of the F-35 stealth aircraft in the air show.

What is Aero India 2023?

  • On February 13, Prime Minister of India inaugurated Aero India 2023, a five-day event at India Air Force station in Bengaluru, India.
  • This year's theme is 'The runway to a billion opportunities' and the focus is on showcasing India's growth in aerospace and defense capabilities.
  • Aero India 2023 displays indigenous equipment/technologies and forge partnerships with foreign companies, aligning with the 'Make in India, Make for the World' vision.
  • The major exhibitors at Aero India include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, BrahMos Aerospace, SAAB, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) etc.

What is ALUAV Project?

  • In 2021, the Indian Ministry of Defence and U.S. Department of Defense signed a Project Agreement for ALUAV, under the Joint Working Group Air Systems in the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  • The ALUAV is being developed to be launched from an aircraft, specifically the C130J aircraft.
  • The Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and the Aerospace Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory are the principal organizations involved in the project.
    • The project agreement also involves technology transfer, which is seen as a great step in the relationship between India and the U.S.
  • India and the U.S. are working together in various areas to ensure a free and open, prosperous, connected, and resilient Indo-Pacific region, where democracies can thrive.

What is an Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?

  • An ALUAV is a type of drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is launched from an aircraft, typically a military transport plane.
  • The ALUAV is designed to provide aerial reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence gathering capabilities to the military.
  • The ALUAV is typically equipped with advanced sensors and communication equipment, and can operate at high altitudes and for extended periods of time.

What is the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI)?

  • About:
    • The DTTI is a bilateral program between India and the United States aimed at deepening their defence ties through cooperation in military technology development and trade.
    • The initiative was launched in 2012 and is designed to facilitate collaboration in defence manufacturing, research and development, and technology transfer.
    • It seeks to enhance the interoperability of military forces and promote regional stability by building a strong defence partnership between the two countries.
  • Projects: The projects under DTTI have been identified as the near, medium and long term projects.
    • The near-term projects included so far are Air-launched Small Unmanned Systems, LightWeight Small Arms Technology and Intelligence-Surveillance-Targeting & Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems.
    • The medium-term projects identified are Maritime Domain Awareness Solution and Virtual Augmented Mixed Reality for Aircraft Maintenance or VAMRAM.
    • The two long term projects are Terrain Shaping Obstacle (lethal munitions) and anti-drone technology called Counter-UAS, Rocket, Artillery & Mortar (CURAM) system for the Indian Army.

Source: TH

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