India’s first indigenous Personal Aerial Vehicle `Varuna’ from Sagar Defence Engineering attracts attention at the recently concluded AFINDEX 2023 in Pune.
This was among the 75 indigenous technologies under ‘Equipment Display’ on the sidelines of the second edition of AFINDEX 2023 in Pune as part of the summit’s goal of defence partnership and defence industry outreach to the African continent. There were indigenous products from 32 industries which were manufactured under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s `Make in India’ initiative. Besides the participants of the African nations, there were Army Chiefs as well as representatives of Chiefs from the region.
Nine countries including Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, and Niger sent in their contingents to participate in the exercise and there were observers from 11 other African nations. On the sidelines of the drill there was a two day conclave of the army commanders and other senior officers from the region.
“In addition to encouraging African countries to explore indigenous defence equipment encompassing a wide range of disciplines that boost national security, AFINDEX presented a platform to display modern drone technology at a global scale,” said a senior officer.
Capt Nikunj Parashar, Managing Director and founder Sagar Defence Engineering told Financial Express Online, “At our company we believe autonomous systems may contribute to a multimodal mobility system, including Urban Air Mobility which leverages the sky to better link people to cities and regions.”
According to him Varuna is the country’s first autonomous platform designed and developed indigenously, with the goal of revitalizing urban air mobility. Through vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and electric propulsion technology, Varuna can be utilised as an air ambulance for emergency medical evacuations along with executing search and rescue missions in remote areas.
Adding, “Varuna has been designed for autonomous takeoff and landing, even on moving platforms. And this is a result of intensive R&D. It has been created as a dual-use technology, where the military forces will be the original early adopters and utilise the technology first before it is applied to future urban air mobility as it can travel 25 kms in the air with a payload capacity of up to 100 kilograms on board.”
Importance of showcasing at AFINDEX 2023
According to him, displaying to delegates from the African continent was an opportunity to showcase the capability of the Indian indigenous defence industry and also enhance combat readiness.