The ministry of defence has signed up a design and development contract with a Bengaluru-based company to develop a High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) which will be able to conduct surveillance operations and support communications by staying airborne for months at a stretch.

What

  1. Mentored under the ministry's Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative, the programme has been supported by the armed forces and will see Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the lead prototype development partner.
  2. NewSpace Research & Technologies signed the contract with the defence ministry on 14 April 2022, with plans in place to develop the first prototype for tests within the next four years.
  3. The first phase of the programme will be undertaken by the startup with the seed funding by the defence ministry and the prototype development is likely to see HAL as the lead partner.
  4. The HAPS is being designed to undertake surveillance and communication duties for months and will also have applications in the civilian domain in the future.
  5. The UAV is being designed to fly at 70,000 feet, which would be out of range for most air defence systems and would rely on solar energy to power itself for months to a stretch.