IAF’s 3-year-long Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition was conceptualised to encourage the development of swarm drones, and was open to indigenous talent and firms.

New Delhi: Three Indian start-ups have won a three-year-long swarm drone competition organised by the Indian Air Force, which will now pave the way for at least two of them to get formal contracts for surveillance, attack and electronic warfare drones.

The ‘swarm architecture’ award went to NewSpace Research & Technologies Pvt Ltd, run by former IAF officer Sameer Joshi. Incidentally, NewSpace had recently won a USD 15 million swarm drone order from the Indian Army.


The ‘communication architecture’ award went to a Delhi Technology University team in a tie-up with Adani Defence, and the ‘drone architecture’ award went to Dhaksha Unmanned Systems.

Sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint that the results which were announced Sunday took into account the unique characteristics offered by all the three companies, and there was no single winner per se.

However, NewSpace is understood to have performed well on all parameters.

The IAF had conceptualised the Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition, which was launched on 3 October 2018, to encourage development of swarm drones, for utilisation in varied domains. The name of the competition honoured Late Air Commodore Mehar Singh, affectionately called ‘Baba’ Mehar Singh by his associates and admirers in the IAF.

It was conceptualised to evolve proprietary design, development, manufacturing and production of “low cost-high impact” solutions for swarm drone technology, the IAF said in a statement Sunday. The competition was open to only indigenous talent and indigenous start-ups.

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