The Indian Army in collaboration with the Drone Federation of India has launched the ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ programme on August 8, 2022. This initiative in line with Atmanirbharta in defence manufacturing is aimed to catalyse and provide focused opportunities to the Indian drone ecosystem to develop path-breaking drone capabilities for meeting requirements of frontline troops.
The Indian Army’s support to the indigenous drone ecosystem is based on the principle that ‘good available indigenously’ is better than the ‘best available globally’. However, gradual enhancement in technology demanded by defence forces is likely to incentivise manufacture of better and more capable drone products.
The ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ programme is pan India sustained connect between all stake holders including industry, academia, software developers and drone product manufacturers. It will be conducted in stages with quantifiable parameters (like altitude, weight, range, endurance etc) being progressively enhanced based on demonstrated capabilities. Broad activities planned include interactions & ideation between users, development agencies, academia etc, seeking of industry responses, visits by development agencies to operational locations to understand the ground perspective & requirements, handholding of development agencies for internal development & on-ground trials and actual conduct & evaluation of drone products.
As a start point, development in the following categories are included:-