L&T, NewSpace Research join hands for development of submarine launched drones


Indian Navy submarine launched UAV: India’s defence and engineering giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Bengaluru based startup – NewSpace Research & Technologies (NRT) for design and development of a new range of submarine-launched manned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

NewSpace Research will conduct joint research and development with L&T on the submarine-launched UAVs for the Indian Navy.

The MoU was signed during a two-day Drone Mahotsav (drone-fair) event held in the national capital New Delhi. Drone Mahotsav event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Mod on Friday (May 27, 2022).

The drone exhibition saw the participation of more than 1,600 delegates, including senior government officials, military officers, foreign diplomats, central armed police force officers, public sector undertakings (PSUs), drone start-ups and other private companies.

L&T, which builds naval warships and K-9 Vajra tracked howitzer guns in partnership with South Korea’s Hanwha Defense Corporation, plans to develop the submarine-launched UAVs to support the Indian Navy and its future requirements.

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Indian Navy Scorpene Class Vela Submarine.

INS Vela.

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Submarine launched UAVs for Indian Navy

Submarine-launched UAVs are considered a relatively new concept, with only a few countries having this capability.

These drones need to incorporate complex technologies as the drone is required to be released while submarine is submerged and then navigate through water before commencing its aerial phase.

According to the sources quoted in local media reports, these submarine launched will have an underwater component and an airborne component and will be one of the most futuristic product development efforts to come out of India.

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US Navy's Blackwing submarine launched drone. (Image courtesy AeroVironment).

US Navy’s Blackwing submarine launched drone. (Image courtesy AeroVironment).

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US Navy’s submarine launched UAVs

According to people familiar with the matter, the US has deployed this capability on her submarines to close a viable kill chain for underwater launched weapons to target surface and land targets.

In December, India’s DRDO’s Technology Development Fund (TDF) floated a requirement on behalf of the Indian Navy for development of submarine launched UAV systems.

The submarine-launched unmanned aerial system (SLUAS) project is expected to meet the tactical needs of the submarines by providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the Indian Navy as well as maritime domain awareness (MDA).

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