Thursday, February 17, 2011

Indian UAV Industry Calls For Regulations

Feb 15, 2011


NEW DELHI — As air traffic growth in India puts pressure on available airspace, the country’s unmanned aerial vehicle industry is calling for a centralized body to draft regulations and set standards for UAV systems.

“Though currently in India it isn’t a major issue, in the next five to six years as smaller systems take to the sky, we will need regulation similar to [that] being drafted in the U.S. by the FAA,” says Avdhesh Khaitan, CEO of Kadet Defense Systems.

Kadet has been awarded a long-term contract from the Indian defense ministry for its all-composite, low-subsonic 350 JX2 Radio-Controlled Aerial Target System, with deliveries to start in two months and span five years. The JX2 is to be used as a missile test target. “The basic problem in India is that UAVs are needed urgently because currently only Searchers and Herons are operated from the command level,” a defense official says. “They need to understand the circumstances under which a UAV can be deployed ... India wants a perfect system and that is not available.”

The need for central planning is increasingly being felt. “Requirements need to be based on deployment needs. One size does not fit all,” the official adds.

Kadet is also developing the low-cost, expendable, 2-kg (4.4-lb.) “Silver Bill” micro UAV for close  surveillance by the police and army. A request for proposals is expected. Kadet anticipates competition from at least three local companies.

“Key stakeholders in the UAV community need to join to develop ... voluntary consensus standards for  materials, products, systems and services,” Khaitan says.
– Neelam Mathews

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