DRDO Netra Mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV),Quadcopter ,Indian Armed Forces
The Netra is an Indian,Light Weight autonomous UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) jointly developed by the Defence Research And Development Organisation’s Research and Development Establishment (R&DE) ad IdeaForge,a Mumbai-based Private firm.
This is the Indian indigenous mini-Unmanned Aerial vehicle used for surveillance and reconnaissance operations.It tooks its first flight on 3 July 2010 and introduced in service by 30 January 2012 and till now 24 prototypes are built.It is primary used by Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force.
Design and Development
The Netra is a Light weight UAV that is primary made up of from carbon fibre composites and uses quadcopters to provide lift and control giving a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) capability.
The Netra UAV is very portable due to its structure which made up of light weight carbon-fibre composite.The UAV has no moving parts other than the rotors ,motors and transmission hence it require very low maintenance.
THE Netra has length of 90 cm (2.95 ft) and rotor diameter of 90 cm.The UAV has the empty weight of 1.5 kg and carry a High resolution CCD camera (Thermal camera) in payload. A backpack case allows operators to carry the system to field locations to serve as the base station. It also contains the power supply, military-grade controller, hand-held operator console and the communication systems
10 prototypes were made during the development stage by DRDO and they were put under tests like the temperature tests (from -10°C to 55°C) and high-altitude tests. After the successful trials, the UAV was cleared for production and induction. The company has manufacturing capacity of 10 units per month with the base price of UAV is Rs.1.5-2 million with additional charges of extra components like HD Thermal Camera.An advanced version of Netra also in process which will have an increased flight time from the present 30 minuter per battery charge.
Powerplant and Capabilities
The Netra UAV is powered by 4 x External Swappable Li-Po batteries.The UAV can attain maximum speed of 30 km/hr.It has range of 2500 m with service ceiling of 300 m.The operational altitude of the UAV is 200 m.It can carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 km Line of Sight (LOS) with an on-board transmitter for 30 minutes on a single battery charge.
The UAV is also equipped with High Resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance and can also carry a thermal camera for night operations. The zoom-in camera can identify human activity up to 500 m away, and can send live video feed of objects within a radius of 5 km.The images are sent through a local wireless network to laptops for monitoring.
Navigation and Guidance System
Flight and navigation of UAV is independent of user-input and is controlled by an on-board auto-pilot with the help of anti-collision sensors. The user interface offers waypoint navigation, in which the user specifies the location of the target and the UAV automatically flies to that location.
THE UAV is very secure and safe with special built-in-fail-safe mode which allows it to return to base if there is loss of communication with the controller or if the battery is low in power.The UAV cannot made to operate in rain yet further research is being done to make it operable in all weather conditions.