The Indian Army has issued a tender for 20 "mini" UAVs for deployment in Jammu and Kashmir. Their stated use is for counter-terrorism operations where they will be employed for information-gathering purposes. The tender is open to all "global original equipment manufacturers".
According to a spokesman, the "deal is expected to be less than Rs 50 lakhs". Looking at the price range of existing UAVs, this appears to be the estimated price of one unit. The requirements of these mini-UAVs include:
- an electric noiseless motor,
- a top speed of 70kmph,
- a flight ceiling of 1km,
- a range of 5km,
- a deployment duration of at least 1 hour,
- a weight of less than 10kg,
- a form-factor that should enable a soldier to carry the vehicle as a backpack,
- and cameras including IR cameras for nocturnal surveillance.
The Indian defence forces already employ a couple of (non-mini) Israeli UAVs named Heron and Searcher which are being phased out in favour of equivalents developed by the DRDO which includes the Rustom.
The Guardian has an interesting visual map detailing the drone inventories of countries around the world. As the map will attest, unlike India, very little information on China's UAV stable is available.