The Indian Navy is planning to purchase around 50 Naval shipborne unmanned aerial system (NSUAS) in a bid to increase maritime security in the country.
A request for information (RFI), which consists of two parts, has also been issued inviting companies to provide quantified technical, operational and maintenance parameters.
Defence sources were quoted by PTI as saying: "We want to have such a capability and want to know what kind of products are available in the market."
The new shipborne drones are expected to be deployed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
In addition, it will be used for SLOC monitoring and coastal / EEZ surveillance, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism, assistance in search and rescue, as well as assistance in maritime domain awareness using AIS inputs.
The navy currently operates two squadrons of Israeli-origin Heron and Searcher Mk-II UAVs, which are now in Kochi and Porbandar, PTI reported.
The new NSUAS will be capable of operating from vessels with the size of at least 50m and be able to perform at night.
It will be capable of flying either pre-programmed or operator-initiated missions guided by the global positioning system and its onboard flight control system.
Primarily intended for operations from ship, the systems will also have a capacity to be operated from ashore.
Recently, the Indian Government approved approximately $16bn worth of new projects for the Indian Navy, including the construction of stealth frigates and nuclear-powered submarines.
Project-17A, valued at more than $8bn, will include the construction of four stealth frigates at Mazagon Docks (MDL) in Mumbai and three at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata.