Indian Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO)'s in-service surveillance drone, Panchi will be showcased in the upcoming Aero India Airshow commencing from 18-22 Feb 2015.
The UAV currently available with the the Army is an un-wheeled version launched from a pneumatic rail launcher and uses a parachute drop system for recovery.
With the expansion of airfield infrastructure, including in forward areas, both services, along with agencies under the Home Ministry, have expressed the need for autonomous wheeled drones, SPS Aviation reported January 28.
The DRDO has been asked by the Army and IAF to build better surveillance payloads for the Nishant/Panchi and to concentrate on longer endurance versions of the vehicle in an Mk.2 configuration.
The Army and IAF feel that the rail launcher is convenient in terms of recovery but presents large logistical footprint for rapid operations, especially when airfield infrastructure is available.
The IAF is also waiting for the first flight of the Rustom 2 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV that the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) had promised will take place this year.
While the February deadline is likely to be missed, it could happen any time after June. The ADE and NAL are also expected to announce progress on their respective mini and micro drone programs that include possible contracts with police services and agencies under the Ministry of Home Affairs that have evinced interest in tactical systems.