Updated February 9th, 2024 at 18:58 IST

Navy Chief Unveils India’s First MALE Drone, Drishti 10 Starliner: Here's All About It

India has flagged the Drishti 10 'Starliner' drone for Naval Operations in Hyderabad, thereby increasing self-reliance in UAV technology.

Navy Chief unveils India’s First MALE drone Drishti 10 Starliner
Navy Chief unveils India’s First MALE drone Drishti 10 Starliner | Image:ANI

New Delhi: Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff, flagged off the very first made-in-India Drishti 10 'Starliner' Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drone designed and developed for the Navy in Hyderabad today, on January 10. According to reports, the drone is soon scheduled to be inducted by both the Indian Navy and the Army, with plans for each to procure two of these drones.

This high-tech Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) represents a significant milestone for India in creating its advanced aerial systems. Speaking on the occasion, the Navy Chief said, “This is a momentous occasion and a transformative step in India's quest for self-reliance in ISR technology and maritime supremacy.”

Drishti 10 'Starliner': Specifics of India’s first MALE

Adani Defence and Aerospace Drishti 10 'Starliner' drone.  | Image: X
  • The Drishti 10 'Starliner' is an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The MALE drone can fly for a relatively long period of about 36 hours. Along with its endurance, the drone has the capability to carry a payload of up to 450 kilograms, as per reports.
  • This particular drone is via a joint venture with Israeli Defence firm Elbit Systems and draws inspiration from its Hermes 900.
  • Although its maximum ceiling height or detailed specifications have not been revealed, surmises believe it might have a ceiling height of about 30,000 ft. 
  • Further specifications reveal that the UAV has a length of 8.3m, a wingspan of 15 metres. It also features a 2.5m-long internal payload bay and external wing hardpoints, supporting customisations to meet the different requirements of the users.
  • Moreover, it's the only military aircraft certified to fly in all weather conditions and in different airspaces. As reports state, this drone has been certified for both contested and uncontested airspaces.

Integration to Increase Navy’s Capabilities: Navy Chief 

Admiral R Hari Kumar expressed that this is a very important moment for India, as it showcases India's move towards self-reliance in technology, and our aim to be strong in maritime operations. “Drishti 10's integration into our naval operations will enhance our naval capabilities, strengthening our preparedness for the ever-evolving maritime surveillance and reconnaissance,” the Naval Chief added.

Hermes 900, tactical MALE drone. | Image: Elbit

Additionally, as per reports, it's not only about manufacturing, but if inducted, Adani Defence will take care of both platforms’ maintenance and repair via the setup of its Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facilities (MRO). Around October 6, reports had surfaced that the Indian Navy had nodded for an order of these Drishti 10 drones.


India’s Multi-Pronged Approach for its UAV Acquisitions

A MQ-9B Reaper Drone. | Image: GA-ASI

India is also working on a multi-pronged approach to meet its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle requirements. As per reports, under project Cheetah, India is upgrading its Heron drones to integrate them with weapons and better surveillance equipment. DRDO is working on its Tapas drone as well, although not of the same category as the Adani drone. Along with that, India has shown intent to procure over 30 MQ-9 Reaper drones from the US as well to further strengthen its capabilities.


Published January 10th, 2024 at 12:19 IST

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