With unmanned vehicles being widely leveraged in warfare, the Indian Army has signed an MoU with the Drone Federation of India to jointly work on R&D, , testing and manufacturing of drones, counter-drone and associated technologies.

Together with the DFI, the Army launched the ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ programme on Monday to basically explore drone applications in logistics/ load carrying at high altitude of 13,200 ft above mean sea level (AMSL) and for autonomous surveillance, search and rescue ( between 9,000 to 13,000 ft AMSL) -- which is along the northern and Western borders with China and Pakistan, respectively. The army is also looking for micro nano drone for room intervention and fighting in built up areas, said Army sources.

The MoU between the Indian Army's Design Bureau and the DFI will promote efforts to handhold the industry and academia to develop niche technology and products for procurement by Indian Army, said a Ministry of Defence statement.

"Both parties have agreed to collaborate to create a road map for drone, counter-drone and allied technologies in the Indian Army, to promote research, development, testing and indigenous manufacturing of drones and associated technologies by provision of testing sites to enable the designing, prototyping, testing and manufacturing of drones and associated components, said the Ministry.

Among others, as the ministry, it will endevour to develop goal-based technology research programs in groups with members from industry, academia and the armed forces and enable outreach for field trials in collaboration with industry and user groups of services.

A multi-pronged and pragmatic approach to achieve cost effective and time bound drone capabilities for artificial intelligence (AI) has been evolved with developments/ procurement through Capital route, Make II, iDex, TDF and D&D (industry/ DRDO), said sources in defence establishment. The Army Design Bureau is facilitating and assisting numerous initiatives like regular capability demonstrations and internal trials by development agencies. Some have resulted in successful procurement such as logistics drones, surveillance drones and swarm drones.