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CSIR set up India’s first Micro Air Vehicle Aerodynamics Research Tunnel in Bengaluru

The tunnel first of its kind in India will be used to test the fixed-wing, flapping-wing and rotary-wing MAVs in the 500 mm wingspan category.

Jun 16, 2015 16:00 IST
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Council of Scientific and Industrial ResearchCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in June 2015 set up a Micro Air Vehicle Aerodynamics Research Tunnel (MART) at the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) campus, Bengaluru.

The tunnel, first of its kind in India, will be used to test the fixed-wing, flapping-wing and rotary-wing MAVs in the 500 mm wingspan category.

The tunnel was set up under the National Programme on Micro Air Vehicles (NP-MICAV). The project is jointly coordinated by CSIR, the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and the Department of Science & Technology.

The state-of-the-art tunnel would address all the aerodynamic, propulsion and aero-elastic issues related to MAVs. It has also a provision for either closed test section for the study of aerofoil sections/3D wing-body models or open jet test section for the flapping and rotary wing studies.

The National Programme-Micro Air Vehicles (NP-MICAV)
Micro air vehicles (MICAV) are small and lightweight flying platforms with a maximum wingspan of 300 mm, all-up weight of 350 grams and payload capacity of 40-60 grams. Micro air vehicles (MICAV) can be deployed for numerous applications, spanning both civilian and military roles.

Research and development activity in mini and micro air vehicles was first suggested in 1998 at a seminar of The Aeronautical Society of India in Hyderabad.

In August 2010, the NP-MICAV was launched with an aim to develop Micro Air Vehicle and their related technologies. The duration of this ambitious joint project is five years and entails a cost of 1.15 crores rupees.

Progress So Far
So far, fixed wing MAVs of Black Kite, Golden Hawk and Pushpak with a 300-450 mm span, 300 g weight, 2 km range and endurance of 30 minutes have been developed. These MAVs have been demonstrated for ITBP, CRPF, Punjab Police, NDRF, IDS, Artillery Training School and others.

Also, a high altitude mini UAV named Slybird with1.6 m wing span, 1.3 m length and 2 kg weight with an operational range of 10 km and endurance of 1 hr has been developed successfully and flight tested at Leh-Ladak (12000 ft above sea level).

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