WATCH: Navy receives first Made-in-India long-range Drishti 10 Starliner drone

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Drishti 10 Starliner drone launch

The Indian Navy recently inducted the country’s first domestically manufactured long-range drone, marking a major milestone for India’s defense industry. The induction ceremony held last week heralds India’s entry into a select league of nations capable of designing and building high-endurance military drone systems.

The new drone called the Drishti 10 Starliner, has been developed by Adani Defence and Aerospace in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is based on the Proven Hermes 900 platform from IAI, customized to meet Indian requirements.

Drishti 10 Starliner drone
Drishti 10 Starliner drone

At the ceremony in Hyderabad, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar formally accepted the first Drishti 10 drone, which will now fly to Porbandar to commence operational missions. The Admiral stated that the induction of this cutting-edge, indigenously designed drone was a matter of tremendous pride for the nation. He lauded it as a transformative capability boosting India’s military surveillance apparatus and maritime security.

Optimized for Maritime Reconnaissance

With its 36-hour endurance, the Drishti 10 is optimized for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance missions in India’s exclusive economic zone and international waters. It can carry a 450 kg payload consisting of advanced sensors, radars, cameras and communication gear to continuously monitor vast oceanic areas.

The modular payload bay allows rapid reconfiguration as per mission requirements. The SATCOM data links enable real-time transmission of information and imagery, allowing quick response to emergent situations by naval assets deployed at sea.

Key Features and Capabilities:

  • 36-hour endurance for long-range maritime missions
  • 450 kg payload capacity including EO/IR sensors
  • Modular payload bays for multi-role missions
  • SATCOM links for real-time data transmission
  • All-weather operability
  • Certified to fly in civilian airspace (STANAG 4671 compliant)
  • Advanced navigation technology for mission accuracy
  • Meets naval requirements for surveillance and recon

The drone is equipped with specialist maritime radar along with electro-optical and infrared sensors for continuous, all-weather monitoring of the seas. It can surveil over 1500 nautical miles from the coast, covering the entirety of India’s exclusive economic zone. Its satellite communication links provide secure networking for real-time data transmission.

Strategic Significance

The Drishti 10 has strategic significance for India’s maritime security interests given the extensive coastline and far-flung island territories. Enhanced surveillance capability will improve the Navy’s response to threats from state and non-state actors across the region.

As strategic competition and contestation rise globally, long-range drones like the Drishti 10 add potent capabilities to protect national security and project power. Indigenous capacity for systems like the Drishti will boost the armed forces while reducing import dependence.

Major Milestone for India’s Defense Industry

The successful development of the Drishti 10 drone highlights India’s expanding design and manufacturing capabilities in the aerospace and defense sector. More complex platforms can now be built locally by leveraging partnerships between public institutions like HAL and private industry leaders like Adani.

Adani Group Investing Heavily in Aerospace

The Adani Group has been investing significantly in India’s aerospace sector including partnerships with global defense majors like Elbit, SAAB and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The Adani-Elbit joint venture already manufactures aerospace structures for the Hermes 450 drone in India.

Along with UAVs, Adani is also working on radar systems, electronic warfare suites and communication systems to address the military’s requirements. It has opened India’s first private sector small arms manufacturing facility. The company aims to create a complete eco-system spanning UAV manufacturing, maintenance and operational support within the country.

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While the Drishti 10 is based on the proven Hermes 900 platform, Adani Defence claims over 70% indigenous components demonstrating India’s expanding manufacturing base. More Drishti 10 drones are planned for the Navy and Army as part of enhancing long-range surveillance capacities.

The induction of the Drishti 10 highlights India’s strides towards self-reliance in critical defense technologies. With continued public-private partnerships, India seems poised to emerge as a global hub for cutting-edge aerospace and drone systems.

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