Jammu: Adefence startup founded two years ago by a team of young engineers from IIT Roorkee has developed three variants of nano drones, including a ‘Kamikaze’ UAV, which have application in anti-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
Mayank Pratap Singh, the co-founder of the startup IDR, said, ”This is the first time that nano drones have been developed indigenously in this country.”
”In just two years since the formation of our startup in 2021, we have developed three variants of nano drones that are actively aiding security forces in their efforts against insurgency and terrorism,” Singh told PTI here.
He said IDR Research and Development has introduced the Doot Mk1 nano drone in three specialised variants, which were showcased at the North-tech symposium. The symposium was held here recently to address operational challenges and procure state-of-the-art equipment for the Army.
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Weighing approximately 200 grams, these drones boast an endurance of up to 30 minutes and can reach a maximum speed of 80 kmph with very low sound, Singh said, adding the Doot Mk1 is equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities, allowing it to identify up to 80 different objects.
”One version of the drone is optimised for outdoor operations, another for indoor settings, and there’s an explosive variant (Kamikaze). ”These nano drones can be deployed in under 10 seconds during emergencies. Their compact sizes allow them to be navigated in complex spaces, whether launched from hand, rooftop, or moving vehicles,” Singh said.
The ‘Kamikaze’ version, named Parush, explodes upon reaching its target. Carrying explosives, the drone has a kill button for it to detonate, he said, adding the drones equipped with such mechanism would have to be programmed to identify the enemy’s hideout and explode there.
”Parush means lethal or destructive. We have successfully tested the explosive drone recently and are working on the safety part now,” he said. ”It will be ready by December.” About the Doot MK1 drone, Singh said, the live feed from it is relayed to multiple screens, ensuring seamless coordination in close combat scenarios. It has a range of 1.5 kilometers, and is operable indoors or within buildings covering 200 to 300 metres, he added.
These nano drones were tested by various commands of the armed forces as well as the NSG and Assam rifles, the startup’s officials said, adding that the Army has produced 20 units.
The cost of a nano drone is roughly Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
”Our drones are crafted specifically for Indian conditions. They have successfully passed tests in high-altitude areas, deserts, and varying weather conditions,” Singh said, adding that these nano drones are essential for anti-terrorism operations, close-quarter combats, indoor interventions, and silent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
The mini drones that are currently in use in India are predominantly the US-manufactured ‘Black Hornet.’ The startup is actively exploring opportunities for exporting its products.
”We recently participated in a defence exhibition in Gujarat and received excellent feedback from countries such as Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Morocco. Discussions are underway with their respective governments for procurement. The Cambodian army has expressed interest and discussions for potential procurement are underway,” Singh said.