A design proposal by a 20-year-old engineering student of a Punjab college of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the Indian Air Force has attracted interest of the Department of Defence production, which has helped him submit the idea under the Make in India category of the Ministry of Defence.
The Defence Investor Cell has helped Ankit Singh, a final-year student of B.Tech (Mechanical) of Chandigarh Group of Colleges in Mohali, in submitting his proposal.
While the design of the proposed UAV is a closely guarded secret, the Department of Defence Production tweeted out the information Wednesday that Ankit had been helped submit his suo motu UAV proposal to the Indian Air Force under Make-II category of Make in India project. Make II involves prototype development of equipment for which no government funding is given.
Ankit hails from a remote village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. His UAV project is now in top gear, with his college providing him with a team of inter-disciplinary students and teachers to help. When The Indian Express reached out to him to learn more about the project, Ankit said he could not reveal much as the defence authorities had asked him not to give out any details. However, he was thrilled that his project had got a reaction from the MoD.
“I had started working on the design from the first year of my B.Tech and the driving force behind it was the knowledge that very little research and development was being done on UAVs in India, apart from a few companies and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),” he said.
Ankit says that the UAV component design and development was done keeping in mind an India-specific mid-range vehicle which could not only do surveillance but could also be weaponised.
“We have received queries from the IAF as well as the Army asking for some amendments in design and giving more suggestions and have given overall good reviews for it. I would be thrilled and would not mind at all if the DRDO would like to look at the design and improve it,” he said.
Ankit’s mentor for the project, Amresh Kumar, an assistant professor at the college, said that seeing the research Ankit had done for the project, the college authorities thought that it deserved more attention.
“While an IIT can get government funding for such a project we, as a private college, are managing within our means. I cannot reveal much but we have now received certain suggestions from defence officials regarding artificial intelligence component of the UAV and the integration of the vehicle with the internal communication network of the Army or IAF,” he said.
The team is now working hard to get a prototype flying in another three months’ time.