The Indian Ministry of Defence has issued a request for information (RFI) to procure 100 loitering munition systems for the Indian Army.
In late January this year, Israeli firm UVision Air announced a joint venture named “AVision” with India’s Aditya Precitech to manufacture loitering munitions under the brand PALM (Precision Attack Loitering Munition) Hero Systems. “AVision will explore various opportunities in India for Loitering Munitions Systems including the design, manufacture, sales, maintenance, support, upgrading, and lifecycle management,” read a joint statement released by the company.
In the RFI issued on March 6 by the Indian MoD, it says it wants a loiter munition that is man-portable, weigh less than 20kg, flight endurance of at least 30 minutes, range of 15km (Line of Sight), ability to operate upto an altitude of 4500m (Above Mean Sea Level) and not less than 300m (Above Ground Level), possess anti-jamming and anti-spoofing properties, carry warhead to destroy personnel and soft-skinned targets which have little or no armor.
The loiter munition should also be controlled by a ground controller with a data link established with the loiter munition system.
The vendor is to provide one loiter munition with complete set of sensor package mounted on the loiter munition system (with day and night capability) along with one ground control station to include ruggedized handheld display, communication system, antenna and tripod. The ground control station should be able to control multiple loiter munitions.
“It should be able to be air dropped placed on a platform system and flexible enough to slither down man packed from helicopters,” the RFI issued states.
The ministry expects the delivery of almost all of the loitering munition systems within 18 months from the date of signing of the contract.
Once launched, loiter munition can ‘loiter’ in the air and wait for its target, or conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations. It then launches a ‘suicide attack’ like a missile after finding out its location. Some types of loitering munitions can even return to the base for future deployment.