September 25, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Army to get 100+ ‘sky strikers’ for Balakot-type missions from Bengaluru

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, Army to get 100+ ‘sky strikers’ for Balakot-type missions from Bengaluru, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Army to get 100+ ‘sky strikers’ for Balakot-type missions from Bengaluru, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, Army to get 100+ ‘sky strikers’ for Balakot-type missions from Bengaluru, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

BENGALURU: The Indian army, under emergency procurement powers has signed a contract for more than 100 explosive-laden drones — to be manufactured in Bengaluru — that are to be used as force multipliers in Balakot type of missions. It will have a range of about 100km.
The requirement for what the army calls “loitering munition” will be fulfilled by ‘SkyStriker’ drones to be made and supplied by Bengaluru-headquartered company Alpha Design-led joint venture (JV) involving Israeli firm Elbit Security Systems (ELSEC). The contract signed on Wednesday is worth around Rs 100 crore.
According to Elbit systems’ website, SkyStriker is a cost-effective loitering munition capable of long-range precise tactical strikes. The drone improves performance, situational awareness and survivability by providing direct-fire aerial-precision capabilities to maneuverable troops and special forces.
The ‘suicide drone’ as some describe it — as it crashes into the target with the explosives — is an autonomous system that can locate, acquire and strike operator-designated targets with a 5kg warhead installed inside the fuselage. Its electric propulsion offers a minimal acoustic signature, allowing covert operations at low altitude, making it a silent, invisible and surprise attacker.
Col (retd) HS Shankar, CMD, Alpha Design, told TOI: “Location details (GPS) will be loaded onto the drone before launch. Upon launching, it will hover around the area, pick-up the target, relay the information back to ground control equipment and strike only after getting clearance. Ground control can change targets after the launch, and even call it back in case a mission has to be aborted.”
The Alpha-Elbit JV has already exported about 100 such drones — manufactured based on Elbit’s technology — and has orders for another 100 exports. Alpha owns 51% in the JV.
Radars & Friend-Foe Finder
Aside from the army contract for its JV, Alpha Design has independently bagged two more defence contracts from the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the past week.
The first is for six Very High Frequency (VHF) radars. The IAF already has long-distance surveillance radars — P18 radars — that can capture targets beyond 200km procured in 1980 and 1990s. Given their age, the IAF was looking at whether it should upgrade the P18s or procure new ones at the same cost and decided to buy new ones.
Under the emergency procurement powers, the IAF issued EOIs and RFPs which got responses from four companies: defence PSU BEL and three private firms Alpha Design, Astra Microwave and Data Patterns. While all four firms met the technical requirements, Alpha emerged as the lowest bidder (L1) and bagged the Rs 200+ crore contract signed last week.
The second, also an IAF contract, is for around 60 Identification of Friend-or-Foe (IFF) systems that will be integrated with ground radars. This technology was developed by the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) under DRDO and transferred to three firms: Alpha, BEL and Data Patterns.
All of them had built prototypes that were approved by authorities concerned but Alpha emerged as the L1 firm to bag the Rs 80+ crore contract, signed on Sunday.

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