Combined Air Teaming System (CATS) will have a mother ship, operating from faraway, and four autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle known as CATS Warrior

BANGALORE: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday unveiled a leap in technology of teaming up unmanned aircraft and vehicles with manned jets similar to the US project of Skyborg. It will enhance Indian military strike capabilities.

Teamed with a manned aircraft known as mother-ship, the unmanned aircraft will leverage autonomy to disrupt and defeat adversaries in contested environments.

The technology named Combined Air Teaming System (CATS) will have a mother ship, operating from faraway, and four autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle known as CATS Warrior with a capacity to carry out strike stealthily entering 700 kilometres inside enemy territory. These unmanned aerial vehicles are capable of autonomous functions and will also have all the manoeuvring capabilities.

"We are developing the project where the manned aircraft will operate within the boundary and the unmanned aircraft will enter the enemy zone and can carry out strikes deep inside the enemy territory," said Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engineering and R&D) at HAL.

He said that it is a dream project of HAL and very futuristic.

Elaborating upon the system, Chatterjee said the system will have a mother-ship carrying components like Hunter and Alpha. The mother ship which is a manned aircraft will be in the Indian territory. "The mother ship can be TEJAS or Jaguar or other combat manned aircraft," Chatterjee said.

The CATS Hunter attached to the mother-ship, which has a deep penetration straight way strike capability, can go deep into the enemy territory and carry out strikes.

At present, the CATS Alpha is a glider and has capabilities to carry four, eight, sixteen or twenty four swarm drones. Alpha has can glide 50 to 100 kilometres into the enemy territory and once it reaches the mission zone, swarm drones comes out.

These 24 drones, around 25 kg, can carry smaller drones of each weighing 5 kg and can go deep into the enemy territory to strike.

All these are controlled by a mother-ship stationed faraway.

Now comes CATS Warrior. The mother ship controls around four CATS warrior. These CATS Warriors have capabilities to enters into the enemy territory up to 700 kilometres.

"It can straightway hit the target at a distance of 700 kilometres or can go to 350 kilometres and come back.

"It carries ammunition, missiles if needed CATS Alpha," Chatterjee said.

HAL is also developing a high-altitude satellite system. It will be solar energised. This asset will be flying unmanned around 70,000 feet height for around two to three months and will be taking all the information.

HAL is also developing high altitude asset with long endurance. It will be flying 50,000 feet for 24 hours and it is also part of CATS program.

"These are very futuristic. This was conceptualised by HAL and IAF is supporting," said Shrikant Dudhe, Project manager of CATS.

Once CATS Warriors are developed they will be integrated with mother-ship. "Everything would be indigenous," Dudhe.

It has been found that lot of foreign countries have shown interest in this HAL project.