MoD clears first military drone testing centre in South India


India’s first military drone testing centre in Tamil Nadu: India’s ministry of defence has the country’s first ever testing centre for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) will be established on five acres of land at Vallam Vadagal in Kancheepuram district in southern state of Tamil Nadu. The Rs 50 crore ($6 million) facility was granted approval by the Ministry of Defence after a bid was submitted by Keltron-led consortium in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO).

According to officials, the establishment of the UAV testing centre in Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor marks a historic milestone for the state and the entire nation.

“The UAV testing centre stands as a testament to India’s commitment to fostering cutting-edge technologies. It will serve as a beacon of progress, attracting investments, spurring job opportunities, and elevating India’s status as a hub for drone technology research and development,” an official told the media.

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The establishment of UAV testing centre comes at a time when the drone industry is witnessing unprecedented growth. With a projected annual growth rate of 22% and an estimated market value of Rs 28,000 crore ($3.39 billion) by 2025, drones have become crucial tools in various fields.

It is learnt that Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), as the government agency part of the UAV Testing Centre, has played a crucial role in supporting and facilitating the realisation of this transformative project.

With the consortium led by Keltron, and supported by expert partners SenseImage, STIC, and Avishka Retailers, the Centre is poised to foster indigenous innovation and research in the drone sector.

India DRDO Abhyas Drone UAV.

DRDO Abhyas Drone test flight.

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The integrated testing complex at Vallam Vadagal also targets electromagnetic compatibility or electromagnetic interference (EMI/EMC) testing apart from electronics optics, electronic warfare and RF antenna.

This testing is a critical step in the design and manufacturing processes of electronic devices. With the presence of many electronics manufacturing and design-focused industries, sources said Tamil Nadu has huge potential for the EMI/EMC and communication testing labs.

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The DTIS, initiated by the Ministry of Defence, aims to bolster indigenous capabilities and self-reliance in the defence sector.

The approval to establish the UAV Testing Centre showcases the government’s commitment to supporting domestic research, development, and manufacturing of drones, thus reducing dependence on foreign testing facilities and bolstering India’s position as a global player in UAV technology, added sources.

Note: 1 USD = 82.6776 INR

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