The Ministry of Defence of India and U.S. Department of Defense concluded a Project Agreement (PA) for Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) under the Joint Working Group Air Systems in the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), on Friday, July 30, 2021. The Air-Launched UAV PA falls under the Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) Memorandum of Agreement between the Indian Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense that was first signed in January 2006, and renewed in January 2015. The agreement is a significant step towards deepening the defense technology collaboration between the two nations, through co-development of defence equipment.
The main aim of the DTTI is to bring sustained leadership focus to promote collaborative technology exchange, and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of future technologies for Indian and U.S. military forces. Under the DTTI, Joint Working Groups on land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies have been established to focus on mutually agreed projects in respective domains. The PA for co-development of ALUAV has been overseen by the Joint Working Group on Air Systems and is a major accomplishment for DTTI.
The PA outlines the collaboration between Air Force Research Laboratory, Indian Air Force, and Defence Research and Development Organization towards design, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation of systems to co-develop an ALUAV Prototype. The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Aerospace Systems Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), along with the Indian and US Air Forces, are the principal organisations for execution of the PA.
The project is valued at more than $22 million with costs shared equally, and marks the largest-ever defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation collaboration between the United States and India. The objectives are the Design, Development, Demonstration, Test and Evaluation of technologies including physical hardware such as small UAVs, avionics, payload power, propulsion, and launch systems through prototyping that meet the operational requirements of the Indian and U.S. Air Forces. The co-development project will be carried out jointly between the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The agreement is the inaugural co-development project under the U.S.- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, a bilateral defense cooperation mechanism that promotes collaborative technology exchange.