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Indian Army Purchases Additional IdeaForge SWITCH Drones

The Indian military has awarded a new contract to local tech firm IdeaForge to supply additional SWITCH 1.0 drones to enhance the country’s surveillance capabilities along its border with China.

The SWITCH 1.0 is an indigenous fixed-wing drone reportedly designed for the most demanding surveillance missions, capable of operating at high altitudes and in harsh environments.

The unmanned aircraft is equipped with a 1280×720 pixel 25x optical zoom daylight camera and a thermal imaging 640×480 pixel infrared camera for taking photos and video during nighttime operations.

In January 2021, the Indian Army signed a $20 million contract to purchase a SWITCH drone high-altitude variant from the company. IdeaForge stated it has fulfilled the contract, delivering the drones within a year.

According to IdeaForge CEO Ankit Mehta, the additional order for SWITCH 1.0 drones is a testament to the company’s leading capabilities in manufacturing drones, exhibited not only during product trials but also in the operational environment.

The company also quoted an Indian defense official, saying that the country is eager to strengthen its northern and eastern borders with swift induction of the drones.

Additional Capabilities

With a recorded weight of 6.5 kilograms, the SWITCH features two main wings and two tail booms with stabilizers. It uses multiple global positioning system sensors to provide more reliability and fail-safe redundancy in case of signal loss.

The aircraft’s built-in failsafe feature allows it to safely return to the ground control station even in strong wind conditions or with a low battery charge.

The drone’s maximum flight time is reportedly two hours.

In addition to surveillance, the aircraft can perform various tasks such as security, anti-terror, border security, counterinsurgency, crime control, inspection, crowd monitoring, traffic monitoring, and disaster management operations.

Bolstering Border Defense

The Indian military has been strengthening its defenses amid increasing Chinese military activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), separating Indian-controlled and Chinese-controlled territory.

In December, the service began deploying upgraded L-70 anti-aircraft guns along the Sino-Indian border to improve the country’s overall operational preparedness amid an ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian military also announced plans to procure a lightweight low-level radar to strengthen its threat detection capabilities along the LAC to help detect and identify enemy aircraft in areas where mountainous terrain surveillance is restricted.

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