Indian company HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) unveiled a mini UAV based on the "Sky Rider" (Skylark) of Elbit Systems. The development is the result of a collaboration between the companies under a joint venture company called HALBIT, spslandforces.com reported.
According to the report, the company announced that it was close to entering negotiations shortly with the Indian Army and CRPF for supply of the hand-launched drone for over-the-hill surveillance and intelligence gathering. The Skylark payload consists of daylight CCD or optional FLIR for night operations. During operation, it sends real-time video to a portable ground station. Recovery involves a deep stall manoeuver, landing on a small inflatable cushion. It has a range of 20/40 km.
The Army has been in the market for hand-launched drones since at least 2007, publishing a requirement for 32 man-portable UAVs for "tactical, point-of-interest imaging and rapid action surveillance for ground forces". According to the report, HAL has received a total of 190 million dollars during 2014-2015 to bring in new machinery and technology to design and prototype new UAVs. The Skylark UAS has been praised for its modular construction, capable of being integrated with a slew of electro-optical or camera payloads, including Indian-developed sensor payloads.