In the past decade, Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) have emerged as significant thrust area for research and development focus by the aerospace community. These vehicles offer clear advantages in terms of reduced weight, unusual shape and increased mission performance. The MAV will be an inevitable part of battlefield in the near future and many countries are presently evolving concept of operations with MAV augmenting soldier’s capability. For instance, in the border area it can provide an excellent close range situational awareness to the soldiers at platoon/company level. It is also a well accepted fact that MAVs will find a major role in supporting paramilitary forces in countering insurgency & terrorism. These classes of air vehicles will also be very handy during disaster management operations wherein search and rescue missions are very crucial.
Since early nineteen eighties ADE, Bengaluru, a premier DRDO laboratory, has been the primary nodal agency in design and development of Unmanned Aerial Systems in India, and more recently, ADE has embarked on the development of Micro Air Vehicles and Mini UAVs. This paper discusses the development of Fixed wing MAV (300 mm class) which is a Science & Technology project and a Mini UAV (2 KG class) which is being developed as a Technology Demonstrator for Low Intensity Conflicts. These two projects are being executed jointly by ADE and NAL, Bengaluru. The performance requirements for accomplishing mission objectives are also discussed. The details and issues related to airframe configuration, analysis, experimental validation, Autopilot, Data link and portable GCS are described in brief. The Image processing requirements and implementation for providing enhanced, stabilized, mozaiced real time video imagery of the gaming area is presented.
Acknowledging the emerging technology related to MAV and its promising missions in both military and civilian sectors, DRDO along with DST approved a National Programme on Micro Aerial Vehicles (NP-MICAV) and allotted funds to a tune of Rs 100 Crores (US $22 million) dedicated exclusively to carry out R&D activities on various MICAV related technologies. With this recent approval, ADE is now the epicenter for monitoring, mentoring and progressing all the requisite R&D activities and technologies leading to the development of fixed wing, rotary wing & flapping wing MAVs and Entomopters. The emphasis of the National Programme is on the development of fully autonomous MAVs (sizes varying from 300 mm, 150 mm and possibly 75 mm) capable of carrying a suitable, miniature, mission-dependant payload. The major objective is to promote and establish various MAV related technologies by sponsoring projects to academic institutions, R&D centers and industries. ADE is responsible for the planning, identification of work centers consistent with their expertise, according project sanctions, monitoring and facilitating delivery of the products on time. ADE also shares the responsibility of integrating various technologies leading to the development of end product.
The various technology related projects proposed and taken up under NP-MICAV are presented. The paper is concluded by addressing issues related to futuristic technologies required to counter ever increasing man made skirmishes and natural disasters.
Speaker: Mr. Chandra Shekar. VS, Scientist G, Group Director, and Programme Director, NP-MICAV, Aeronautical Development Establishment [ADE]