The Army has issued two request for proposals (RFPs) for procuring 363 drones to ferry logistics at high and medium altitudes for the quicker operational need along the borders, including China and Pakistan.

Army officials stated that while 163 unmanned vehicles would be procured for high altitude (4,000 metres), the remaining 200 of them for medium altitude (3,000 metres). The acquisition processed under emergency procurement will be routed through a fast-track procedure under Buy (Indian) category.

The UAVs would be used for supply of food, small arms and ammunitions and other logistic items, said Army sources. It becomes difficult in treacherous terrains to supply logistics, and the forces have to rely on copters for delivery and or on its personnel, if the passage is not friendly to air platforms.

Among the requirements, the Army issued RFP insists that the drones flying at medium altitudes should have the endurance to withstand strong winds and carry at least 20 kgs of payload, and the overall weight of each platform would be around 100 kg. For high-altitude logistics drones, the weight of the payload has been kept at not less than 15 kg, says the RFP.

To give a fillip to the domestic defence industry, the RFP said that the indigenous content in the drones should be up to 60 per cent and the last date for submission of the bids is November 11. The drone should have the capacity to be launched at different heights and return to its base after completing the sortie.