Thursday, October 5, 2023

Indian Army ‘Special Forces’ On The Hunt For 750 RPAVs

By Staff Correspondent

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 750 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) under the Emergency Procurement through the Fast Track Procedure (FTP). The categorisation of procurement is under the Buy (Indian) category. The Indian Army has been looking for RPAs to enhance the situational awareness of its elite Para Special Forces battalions for deployment along the northern borders. According to the RFP, the desired equipment will hold provide the needed situational awareness required to carry out day and night surveillance capabilities and give the ability to scan a target area and provide processed 3D scanned images to execute special missions. Procuring these RPAVs is expected to enable Indian Army Special Forces to conduct pin-point precision strikes during direct action tasks such as raids, elimination of High-Value Targets (HVT), and Command and Control (C2) elements, including enemy leadership.

The indigenous content requirement for this proposal is at least 60%, and if indigenous design minimum of 50%. The RFP stipulates that the place of delivery be COD Agra. The minimum shelf life of these RPAs should be at least 10 years, and the product support by the bidder should be for at least a decade. It is stipulated that the bidder is bound to give the government at least two years’ notice before closing the production line to enable a ‘lifetime buy’ of all spares. The salient features of this RFP include that the procurement is being carried out by ‘Open Tender Enquiry.’ The equipment will be demonstrated on a ‘No Cost No Commitment (NCMC) basis at a location and date decided by the Empowered Committee.

The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) and Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) will be carried out by members of the Empowered Committee. Furthermore, the demonstration and evaluation would be carried out by the members of the Empowered Committee or representatives nominated. The RFP highlights that the proposed RPAVs be delivered by a year from the date of contract signing. The RFP mention that Comprehensive Maintenance Contracts (CMC) for three years are to be provided, and it may be poignant to note that only Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), authorised vendors, or government-sponsored export agencies are eligible to respond to this RFP.

The operational requirement of the proposed RPAVs should follow these parameters. The weight and portability should be at most two Kilograms and must be operable by a sole operator. Each RPAV should comprise the following components: a single aerial vehicle or platform with three detachable rechargeable batteries, a Man-Portable Ground Control Station (HHGCS), and three batteries. It should include all the accessories required to operationalise the RPAV, including internal batteries, cables, etc. The complete set of sensor packages should have both day and night capability). The endurance should be at least 30 mins. The thermal camera should be usable both day and night. Furthermore, the proposed RPAV should be capable of Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL).

The RFP further characterises the RPAVs technical specifications. The proposed RPAV should consist of a lightweight battery based on Lithium or other newer-generation technology and should have 256 AES encryption. The camera should be 4K video quality with a minimum 16XDigital zoom. The storage capacity should be at least 128 GB in both the GCS and aerial platforms. These RPAVs should have a 360° autonomous obstacle avoidance system and be able to operate indoor/GPS-denied spaces and should be able to autonomously undertake a 3D scan of the target area and provide a processed 3D scan image. The system should be able to autonomously generate and execute the flight plan for a 3D scan in a place as defined by the user using augmented reality or coordinates.

The components of one platform must be useable with other interchangeable platforms. Furthermore, the system must be able to incorporate raster maps, including the Indian Army and defence service maps. All geo-references must be displayed in latitude – longitude/Indian Military Grid Reference (IMGR) (user selectable). The proposed RPAV should ensure compliance with the metric system, using SI units or other generally acceptable units. The deployment time should see it be ready to launch within 10 minutes. It should be able to operate in temperatures ranging from 20 °C to 45 °C. And it should be able to be stored in temperatures ranging from -10 °C to 45 °C.

Regarding the training, a package for training operators and quality assurance personnel to undertake the equipment operation and quality assurance would be required to be carried out in English and Hindi. This training shall give the operators the necessary knowledge and skills to operate the equipment and accessories effectively in field conditions. The training should also enable quality assurance personnel to conduct adequate Acceptance Test procedures (ATP), quality assurance and defect investigations. The bidder will define the training syllabus in consultation with the buyer at the time of CNC. Furthermore, training requirements such as training aids, projection system, complete equipment with accessories/optionals, technical literature, spares, test equipment/test set up, charts, training handouts, power point presentations, Computer Based Training (CBT), documentation, simulators etc. will be catered by the bidder.

It may be poignant to note that a pre-bid meeting will be organised by SHQ at 1500 hours on 9 November 2022 at Directorate General of Infantry (Infantry-7) Integrated HQ of MoD (Army) Room No – 413, D-I Wing, Sena Bhawan New Delhi – 110011 to answer any queries or clarify doubts regarding submitting proposals. The bidder or his authorised representative is requested to attend. The RFP states that necessary details may be sent a week in advance to the aforementioned address to facilitate security clearance. Any queries or clarifications to RFP are to be sent by 1 November 2022.

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

To receive the latest news on Indian aviation and defence.