Defence startups for Atmanirbhar Bharat

While the defence sector is dominated by big players, city startups are coming up with next-gen equipment

Published: 20th March 2022 05:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2022 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

Prinicipal Secretary of Industries Department Jayesh Ranjan inspects the defence equipment developed by startups at MCEME, Secunderabad

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: With Hyderabad-based startups at the forefront of technological innovation, budding entrepreneurs from the city are also foraying into the lesser-known area of defence technology. 

India has almost always relied on foreign countries or big established names for defence technology, but several city-based entrepreneurs, undeterred by the challenges, are developing products in the defence sector, helping achieve the dream of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

Among them, Suraj Bonagiri, CEO of Arka Aerospace, is developing an ‘elasticopter’, which is a flexible drone that can change its shape to match the payload’s shape. This shape-changing feature brings in a number of economical benefits and makes it multi-purpose, making it vital for large-scale operations. Speaking to Express, Suraj says, “This elasticopter is designed for payloads weighing up to 5 kg. It can be reconfigured using a scissor mechanism and co-axial propulsion system.” 

“This next-generation logistics unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can reconfigure itself to carry a payload of any dimension. It works on a swap-battery system. It can also fly up to 400 feet in height,” he adds. 

‘One-of-a-kind system’

Another city-based startup, Edgeforce Solution, has come up with Autonomous Surveillance and Tracking Rover (ASTRO), which was developed by Ramachandran Andayil. It is mounted with a radar capable of scanning up to 2 km.

According to Ramachandran, it autonomously moves to locations, deploys radar, locks on targets and relays data to the base station. This electrically-powered ASTRO is one of the very few autonomous rovers with radar-integrated technology.

“ASTRO detects weapons, human-pose recognition and any type of ground threats. It can be and be used for search and rescue, counter-terrorism or assault operations and indoor mapping. It can also integrate a moving anti-drone defence system with a submachine gun-based hard kill system,” he adds.

The rising number of startups is an indicator of the growing entrepreneurial culture among youth. They are increasingly achieving success in every sector, however, the defence sector is yet to witness the large-scale entry of promising talent.

Recently, the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Secunderabad, conducted a seminar to initiate dialogue between policymakers and Hyderabad entrepreneurs. At the event, Industries Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan had observed that Telangana had the perfect ecosystem for the growth of defence startups.

2 km is the maximum distance that the radar mounted on the ASTRO can scan

Multi-purpose equipment to the rescue

ASTRO detects weapons, human-pose recognition and any type of ground threats. It can be used for search and rescue, counter-terrorism operations and indoor mapping. It can also integrate a moving anti-drone defence system with a submachine gun-based hard kill system. It can autonomously move to locations, deploy radar, lock on targets and relay data to the base station



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