Even as the scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are developing an advanced aerostat named Nakshatra, a Bengaluru-based aerospace company hit the skies with an aerial surveillance system from Israel, on a demonstration mission. The airship was on operational sorties at Bengaluru's CAR KSRP Police Grounds recently with the consent of local air traffic controller officials.
Mistral-RT1000, the aerostat-based eye in the sky platform is brought to India by Mistral Solutions, in collaboration with the Israeli firm RT. Speaking to OneIndia, Mistral Chairman Anees Ahmed claimed that the officials from the Karnataka Police, National Security Guard (NSG) and Border Security Force (BSF) have watched the demonstration. "There has been a lot of interest from various quarters, including some private companies.
In addition to homeland security, the system can be used for sporting activities as well. It can stay afloat for three days and the maintenance takes only 10 minutes," says Anees. Long endurance, long range and easy to operate Currently being used widely by the Israel Army, Mistral-RT1000 recently found a prospective customer in the US Army. A helium-inflatable device, it is embedded with a long range day and night thermal camera. Its promoters say that the camera can provide aerial surveillance from a height of up to 1000 feet with a high zoom capability.
"It is quick, easy to deploy and provides a video surveillance for an area of 2 -3 sq km. The device is designed for surveillance over fixed sites, such as military bases, temporary camps, strategic facilities and border crossing checkpoints. The system is operated by a two men crew and can perform effectively under different wind conditions and remain airborne for up to 72 hours continuously," says a company official.
The system can be used for unmanned aerial surveillance and target acquisition, law enforcement and public safety, border and coastal security, traffic and crowd control, communication relay, VIP cover and sporting events. The officials said that around 40 similar surveillance aerostat systems are in operation in Israel, Canada, USA, Russia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Mexico and Colombia to name a few. Some of the key features of Mistral-RT1000 Easy transportation, rapidly deployable 360 degree stabilized video coverage ELINT or tactical payloads Continuous surveillance up to 72 hours Accurate location and targeting on video display of the ground control station Day/night/laser-gyro stabilized camera Easy to operate Operational under all weather conditions and strong winds of up to 40 knots Customizable for any operation.
DRDO developing an advanced variant of its airship Interestingly, Mistral-RT1000 lands in India at a time when scientists from DRDO's Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment in Agra are on a mission to develop Nakshatra, an advanced version of its earlier Aerostat Akashdeep. Under development for the last two years, the DRDO officials are hoping to take Nakshatra for its maiden flight next year. Inspired by the lessons from Akashdeep, which is yet to find an Indian user, DRDO completed the feasibility study for the Nakshatra last year. It is tipped to be having a higher payload and longer endurance. DRDO officials had earlier claimed that the new airship would offer flexibility during surveillance missions even ever the sea.