Indian Army enhances defense capabilities with new Nimble-i micro-UAV

In an article published on July 29, 2023, by the Indian Defense Research Wing, it was reported that Throttle Aerospace Systems (TAS), a subsidiary of RattanIndia Enterprises, successfully delivered its micro-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called Nimble-i to the Indian Army. This delivery is expected to enhance India's defense capacities.
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The new Nimble-i micro-UAV by Throttle Aerospace Systems (Picture source Throttle Aerospace Systems)

The Nimble-i UAV was officially introduced at the 4th Drone International Expo held in New Delhi from July 26 to 27, 2023. The development of Nimble-i began in 2017, and it underwent flight testing in late 2018 before the Indian Army placed an order for two units. These UAVs were delivered to the Indian Army in May 2023.

The Nimble-i is an electric-powered micro-UAV designed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It is versatile enough to serve both civil and military purposes, such as border surveillance, disaster management, and forest and wildfire monitoring.

This UAV features four detachable arms with landing legs, each equipped with electric motors powering fixed-pitch two-bladed propellers. Its central mast holds a three-axis gimballed electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) turret and a battery at the bottom, enabling vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) operations.

Constructed using lightweight composites, the Nimble-i has a maximum take-off weight of 2 kg and can carry payloads of up to 0.5 kg. It has a communication range of 5 km and an endurance of 30 minutes, making it effective for short-distance and time-limited operations.

The Nimble-i can withstand wind speeds of up to 12 m/s and relies on the Global Positioning System (GPS) or global navigation satellite services (GNSS) for navigation.

Equipped with a handheld controller and display screen, the Nimble-i ensures user-friendly operation and real-time video transmission. Additionally, it can be easily launched and recovered by hand, providing convenient deployment options.

Notably, the Nimble-i boasts several advanced features, including a 4K RGB, 10x zoom camera, forward-facing LIDAR, long-range digital transmission, and hot-swappable payloads & batteries, enhancing its versatility and capabilities.

With the introduction of the Nimble-i into the Indian Army, it is expected to bolster the nation's reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities, contributing to improved border security and disaster response operations. This deployment of a micro-UAV signifies a notable advancement in India's use of unmanned aerial technology for critical missions.

The adoption of micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is gaining interest among armed forces today due to their distinct advantages and capabilities. The compact size and lightweight design of micro-UAVs make them highly portable and easily deployable in various operational scenarios. Their small footprint allows for discreet reconnaissance and surveillance missions, enabling armed forces to gather intelligence without attracting unnecessary attention. Additionally, micro-UAVs offer cost-effective solutions compared to larger UAVs and traditional aircraft, making them more accessible for military units with budget constraints.

Their ability to operate in confined spaces and navigate challenging terrains provides armed forces with improved situational awareness and a tactical advantage in both urban and remote environments. As technology continues to advance, micro-UAVs offer a wide range of applications, making them a valuable asset in modern warfare for gathering real-time information, monitoring threats, and supporting troops on the ground.