Aerovironment’s RQ-11 "Raven" drone could be built in India in collaboration with its Indian partner Dynamatic Technologies.
The project would be among the first under an Indo-US Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) which is slated for finalization during the coming visit of US President, Barack Obama.
According to a Reuters report from Washington, Frank Kendall, U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, will be in New Delhi ahead of the Presidential visit in an effort to finalize joint projects under the DTTI.
Indian aerospace engineering firm Dynamatic Technologies and AeroVironment Inc, had signed an agreement to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also called drones, in India during 2013. However there was not much progress since then due to export control licensing issues from the US.
India has imported Israeli UAVs due to easier export procedures in Israel and a supposedly lower price as compared to American or European systems.
The RQ-11 Raven drone has been successfully used by the US Army over Afghanistan. The 4.2-pound (1.9-kg) UAV is hand tossed into the air and can stay airborne for up to 80 minutes at 30 miles an hour (45 kph) speed. It transmits color video or infrared imagery to the operator's laptop up to nine miles (15 km.) away.
Priced at US$50,000, the drone is rucksack portable and has been exported to several American allies.