IdeaForge wins $20M fixed wing hybrid vtol contract from Indian Army
Mumbai-based drone manufacturer ideaForge has announced that it has won a repeat contract from the Army to supply 200 of its Switch mini fixed wing hybrid vtol along with its accessories. The Army had earlier ordered the same UAV in two separate deals.
“ideaForge won this contract against stiff competition from Israel, Russia, Ukraine, France, India and others. The Switch UAV was the only system that emerged successful from the rigorous testing and field trials that the Indian Army is well known for,” a company statement said.
The traditional understanding was that a fixed wing hybrid vtol would be the ideal solution for last mile deployments, ideaForge said adding, on analyzing the actual operational constraints that the Army faced, they realised that a hybrid VTOL platform which can take off without a runway or by hand launching would be the ideal solution.
“ideaForge has engineered this product with the unique VTOL approach, keeping in mind the terrain challenges in the operational areas of the Indian Army,” Ankit Mehta, ideaForge Co-Founder and CEO, said in the statement. “Looking ahead, we want to take this expertise across the world, to everyone in need of protecting their borders or to empower their forces with unprecedented last mile situational awareness,” he added.
In the last two years, the Army has signed a series of contracts with Indian start ups for small drones for surveillance and load carrying.
The high-altitude Switch UAV is a VTOL drone that takes off vertically like a helicopter and then transitions into flying like a regular plane even in high altitudes with low temperatures, high winds and low density of air, according to the company. In that context, it is a drone that can be carried on the back of a Jawan and deployed, with confidence, to act as the eyes-in-the-sky for our forces, it said.