The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is working on a High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. However, the Indian Army and Air Force have reservations, partly due to ADE's previous Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) UAV projects like Tapas not meeting expectations. They are urging ADE to benchmark its indigenous HALE UAV program against the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.
The TAPAS-BH-201 MALE UAV program, although making progress, has certain technical shortcomings, raising doubts about ADE's ability to complete it without external assistance. ADE introduced a concept for a HALE UAV earlier this year, aligning its specifications closely with the MQ-9B SkyGuardian to be competitive.
ADE is facing challenges with the Archer-NG program, an Armed MALE UAV initiative, and past efforts for the Archer SR-UAV have not gained interest from the Indian Army and Air Force.
Until the TAPAS-BH-201 and Archer-NG programs demonstrate substantial progress and issues are resolved, it's unlikely that the HALE program will garner enthusiasm. ADE needs to refine its HALE UAV initiative to earn confidence in the defense sector.