March 04, 2013: The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) has unveiled the hand-launched fixed-wing mini UAV Imperial Eagle, and invited potential users to give the platform a test. The Imperal Eagle, with an all-up weight of 2.9 kg and a wingspan of 1.6 metres, is hand launched with a mission endurance of 50-60 minutes. Propelled by a BLDC electric motor, the UAV is capable of speeds of upto 25 metres/second and an operating altitude of 100-2000 feet. Through telemetry and video link, the Imperial Eagle has a range of approximately 10 km and functions via a single axis tracking system. Hand-launched, it is recovered via a soft-landing. It sports fully autonomous pre-programmed waypoint navigation. Payloads can include daylight or IR camera with a gimbal.
The Indian Army and paramilitary forces have been on the lookout for a man-portable UAV on the lines of the US Army's Raven UAV, currently deployed for tactical and 'over the hill' surveillance. The Imperial Eagle (along with NAL's Sly Bird) are both in the running to meet such a requirement, though it remains to be seen how they perform in user trials in field conditions.