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23 August 2010

Countering Insurgency and Terrorism with new Micro Air Vehicle

The new Micro Air Vehicle will help combat terrorism
The new Micro Air Vehicle will help combat terrorism.
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Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been entrusted with the Rs 100 crore Design and Development of Micro and Nano Air Vehicle Project to be deployed in countering terrorism and insurgency during low intensity conflicts, Dr Prahlada, Chief Controller (R&D) DRDO said here today.

Speaking after inaugurating the three-day All India seminar on 'Micro and Nano Air Vehicles,' jointly organised by National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) and the Institute of Engineers (India), Dr Prahlada said as many as 30 institutions across the country, including colleges and universities were involved in the project.

Stating the DRDO was committed to supporting the Para Military Forces involved in maintaining internal security, Dr Prahlada said the Micro Air Vehichles (MAVs) would play a vital role during low intensity conflicts, surveillance, reconnaissance, fire, floods, earthquakes, gas leads, search and rescue, explosive detection and several other applications.

According to Prahlada, DRDO has the capability to build MAVs as small as 300 mm and weighing 300 gms. Efforts are on to bring it down to 100 mm to 200 mm and to less than 200 gms, he told reporters. "MAVs are small, almost bird-like. They are accurate and they cost very less," Prahalada said, adding, "they can be manufactured in big numbers very, very cheap."

Meanwhile, Former IISC Professor and founder of Drone Aerospace Systems Dr. Krishna Venkatesh has been invited to give a presentation on his findings on MAVs during the Knowledge Utsav, India's largest R&D conference. The conference will witness the largest ever presentation of over 400 research papers across 44 disciplines and more than 100 inspiration talks.

The conference is organized by EDU.IN in association with Tumkur University and Jain Research Foundation (JGi). It will be held on August 28, 2010, Saturday at the Jain University, Global Campus, Kanakapura Taluk, Bangalore Rural.

Dr. Venkatesh is also one of the key members of the research paper review panel. Some of India's leading Scientist and Researchers are part of this panel. Out of total 420 papers which will be presented at the Knowledge Utsav, the panel will be selecting around 250 research papers which will be published in some of the leading publications around the world.

"This is a recognition of our work in the area of MAVs that will play a very significant role in helping Military Forces, & Local Police in combating terrorism and help various other departments in monitoring forest fires, floods etc," said Dr. Venkatesh. "Knowledge Utsav is creating a huge platform for researchers, scientists and students, and I am truly honored to be a part of the review panel of this Conference."

Birds, through centuries have inspired and challenged humans. Since Leonardo Da Vinci many great-minds have attempted to mimic Mother Nature in order to create a flying machine, until Otto Lilienthal's first glider flight and the Wright Brothers first powered flight in their Flyer. Since then aeroplanes have evolved in varieties - from small aircraft's to large cargo carriers, from domestic passenger airliners to fighter jets. Each of these flying machines evolved with some practical purpose - if the Gee Bee R-2 Racer was designed for pleasure seekers, the B-52 Stealth Bomber was designed for critical missions such as bombarding and data acquisitions. Whatever may be the design they all had one thing in common - they all needed a pilot to fly them.

Information plays a vital role with respect to monitoring activities across the border; forest fires, floods etc. Birds' eye view of these territories would be the most effective form of information, but in such missions the pilot's valuable life is put to risk. A remotely controlled aircraft, which can perform all the duties relentless of bad weather or hazardous conditions, may be the answer. But in the realm of reality, to produce an aircraft which is controlled remotely is a challenge in itself. This challenge has created a new wave of technology called the Unmanned Air Vehicle. This technology has been effectively put to use by countries like Israel in Bekaa Valley, US in Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan and Russia in Chechnya.

In view with the demand in aerial surveillance in war and as well as in peacetime, it has proven to be too costly to risk pilots and aircraft. For this reason governments across the globe have begun investing in the new technology referred to as "The Unmanned Air Vehicle". These vehicles would possess capabilities to access hazardous and inaccessible territories providing information in real time and also act as a strike force without risking valuable life and expensive machineries. Capabilities are not just limited to military applications alone but also to aid in peace time applications and disaster management by being able to provide valuable information from high-risk places such as volcanoes, earthquake hit areas, flood affected regions and so on.

Dr. Venkatesh paper will throw light on the role of MAVs and the key economic and technological challenges faced in developing and designing these Unmanned Air Vehicles.

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