The Indian Ministry of Defence has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on Feb. 24 for the procurement of 15 Naval Shipborne Unmanned Aerial System (NSUAS).
The NSUAS system is being procured for the Indian Navy to be used for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions including Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Target Acquisition; Sea lines of Communication (SLOC) monitoring and Coastal/Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance; and assistance in Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The secondary roles of NSUAS would include anti-piracy, anti-terrorist activities and assist in Search and Rescue (SAR).
Each NSUAS system consists of two air vehicles in the basic configuration, two control stations (one each of Main and Standby), one launch system, one point recovery system, one ship data terminal, one set of specialized role payloads and two Remote Video Terminal (RVT).
The basic configuration of the air vehicle is to be equipped with an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) payloads. It should be also capable of being equipped with one modular specialized role payload which is swappable in the field. These include Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR), Communication Relay, COMINT (Communications Intelligence) and ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) payloads.
The NSUAS should be capable of operating from ships and shore by day as well as by night and in low visibility conditions. The RFI states that the system should be capable of operating from any Indian Navy ship of greater than 100 meters length (with or without a helo hangar).
The system must be also capable of being launched and recovered in wind speeds up to 15 knots. The minimum endurance of the air vehicle with the basic payload (EO/IR and AIS) is to be more than 10 hours.
According to the tender document, the last date for submission of the offer is March 23. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement is likely to be issued by December 2020.
The Indian Navy anticipates that the first system would be delivered within 12 months from the date of signing of the contract and one system every month thereafter.