Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bangalore: The tactical Mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) 'Baaz' developed and produced by the Hyderabad-based Speck Systems will give a functional demonstration to the Indian Army in April this year.
The Indian Army is reportedly satisfied with the performance of 'Searcher-II' and the Israeli 'Heron' UAVs and seems to be eyeing the market for more machines.
The 'Baaz' UAV, with a speed of 18 nautical miles (50-60 kilometre) has already been demonstrated in South Africa, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Though the army has not floated any tender for new UAVs, the Chief of Army Staff, General J J Singh, has already seen the 'Baaz' in action. The tender is likely to come out in two or three months time.
The day and night and all weather UAV was developed a year back. Competing with Israel's IAI (Israeli Aircraft Industries) models Eye 410, I-View MK50 and Birdeye 2000, and EU's EADS whose model Eurohawk and the 'Golden Eagle' jointly developed by Singapore and Israel, the 'Baaz' is a low cost, low maintenance machine with real time data and video transmission.
Remotely-piloted spy drones as the UAVs are called, are attracting as much attention as the fighter jets at the Sixth edition Aero India Show here.
On display, at the biggest ever Asian air show, are the BAE Systems' fully-autonomous Herti UAV, with a capacity of 24 hours flight at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet, to Israeli Elbit Systems' hand-launched miniature Skylark UAV, designed for counter-terrorism operations and beyond-the-hill surveillance, along with the indigenous 'Baaz'.
Israel's IAI has approached Speck Systems for collaboration for its drone machines. Speck, if it enters into a partnership deal, will provide domestic technical support, assembly and testing facilities, warranty and training. Software development and ground control will however be indigenous.
The Indian Navy and the Air Force (IAF) too have plans of inducting spy drones in the near future.
10/02/07 Suman Sharma/ANI/, US

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