“India is adopting drone technology on a large scale,” said Tushar Bidawe, senior manager of international business for Mumbai-based ideaForge Technology. “Maybe it’s defense, or maybe it’s enterprise applications, public safety or state policies. We are 1.2 billion people; as our prime minister said, ‘We want to be a drone hub.’ And India is very keen to export drones.”
Reinforcing that sentiment, ideaForge, which Bidawe said is India’s largest drone manufacturer, has just launched its Netra V4 Pro quadcopter for the U.S. market. “This product is especially used for two kinds of applications,” Bidawe said. “One is ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and the second is survey. Our main USP [unique selling proposition] is flight time with payloads. So, when we say with payloads, you are getting 90 minutes in the air to carry out ISR operations as well as surveying. In 90 minutes, you can go around two square miles of area. And it’s a modular kind of platform that can be used for different applications.”
Operational range is 10 miles, takeoff weight is up to 13.2 pounds, and the V4 Pro can carry NDAA-compliant high definition and thermal camera options, and a 20 megapixel photogrammetry payload.
Last year, ideaForge developed and launched the Switch fixed wing and vertical takeoff and landing hybrid for long-range high endurance high altitude last mile surveillance and security operations. It carries optical zoom and thermal cameras for target detection and can be outfitted for over-the-hill operations.
“Switch is a hybrid VTOL product that flies for 120 minutes and has a range of around 10 miles for surveillance and ISR for day and night,” Bidawe said. “It’s a standard issue with the Indian defense and has been purchased in the thousands.”
Bidawe expects continued upgrades for both the V4 Pro and Switch. “We just want to make our brand known. We are not a start-up. We are very good in India and like we want to replicate the same thing in the U.S. India has a potential to be a world leader in the drone market.”