India’s Quest for UAVs and Challenges

RK Narang

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) having the unique ability to undertake long duration and risky missions have raised questions on the need for having a man in the cockpit, i.e. a manned aircraft. However, it is not easy for an intelligent UAV to imitate the capabilities of human beings and replace them in an aircraft. These aspects have been analysed while deliberating on the evolution of UAVs and UCAVs. The technological and regulatory challenges have a key role in the integration of UAVs in non-segregated air space and this book examines various initiatives taken by India and other countries to facilitate optimum exploitation of civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). This book provides an insight into UAV development by India and its two immediate neigbhours, i.e. China and Pakistan, who followed their respective distinct trajectories. It examines India’s endeavours in designing and developing aviation platforms and contribution of various stakeholders to assess the challenges that prevent transformation of its aviation designs into successful products. Thereafter, a roadmap is proposed to make its aviation ecosystem a robust one, which is essential for India to succeed in its quest for UAVs through ‘Design and Make in India”.

This book is likely to appeal to policy makers, military and civil aviation professionals, DRDO, HAL, private industry and aviation enthusiasts.

RK Narang Group Captain Rajiv Kumar Narang VM, was commissioned in the helicopter stream of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in December 1989. He has flown more than 4700 hours over varied terrain comprising Siachen Glacier, mountainous regions of Himalayas, deserts and plains of India. He is a flying supervisor, qualified aircraft accident investigator and an alumnus of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, India. He has served in staff appointments at Air Headquarters and Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS). He was awarded Vayu Sena Medal (VM) for meritorious service in 2000. He has served as Research/ Senior Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) from September 2014 to April 2019. He is pursuing PhD from School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru (JNU) University, New Delhi.






1. History, Evolution and Employment of Uavs
2. Developing UCAVs: A Promising Challenge?
3. Integration of UAVs in Non-Segregated Air Space
4. Pillars of China’s UAV Programme: Aviation Eco-System, Collaborations and Clandestine Operations
5. China’s Foray into Developing New Age UAVs: Global and Regional Implications
6. Pakistan’s Approach to Uav Indigenisation
7. India’s Quest for UAVs
8. Challenges to Aviation Design, Development and Manufacturing in India
9. A Roadmap for a Robust Aviation Eco-System in India



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