The lack of armed drones has dogged the Indian army for a long time. The quest for the military-grade armed remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) is a long pending story for the Indian armed forces. Finally, that is over with the launch of the PALM-400 – the acronym for ‘precision attack loitering system’.
According to the reports, the Indian army has tested the prototype version of the PALM-400 successfully. It fired a thermobaric warhead from the canister which is also developed in India. The system is broadly defined as the armed remotely piloted vehicle (RPV).
The tests were conducted at the highest altitude in Sikkim where PALM-400 RPV was fired from an altitude of 18,000 feet and, after loitering at 19,500 feet. According to the sources, the tests took place in Sikkim.
The combat RPVs need to be tested on stringent parameters, including motion control, motor control, signal integrity and navigational accuracy.
The PALM 400 is the result of a joint venture between AVision Systems (Israel), UVision Air Ltd and Aditya Precitech Private Ltd (APPL). Reports suggest that the contract was given to the Israeli entity in an open tender which is termed a Request for Proposals (RFP) in military parlance.
The RPVs are extremely complex systems which involve multiple systems integration based on advanced sensory elements.
PALM-400 RPV’s firepower
The RPV has achieved a firing range of over 100 km. Technically, the RPVs will have the capability for providing map data for battlefield planners and airstrikes.
While it is not clear whether the sensors are developed jointly, it is learnt that the PALM -400 incorporates the most advanced sensors for its precision attacks based on autonomous integration.
The PALM-400 has been equipped with next-generation dual electro-optical and infrared cameras with alternative navigation systems.
In addition to their intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities, the RPVs can also play a critical role in providing military logistic support.