Drone start-up Garuda Aerospace on Wednesday unveiled its solar-powered drone "SURAJ", designed specifically for surveillance operations, at Aero India 2023 here. Principal Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and former DRDO Chief Dr Satheesh Reddy unveiled it.

According to the company, SURAJ is an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) high-altitude drone designed specifically for surveillance operations, providing "real-time information to the high command and protecting Jawans on the ground."

It said the drone's unique J-shaped wings are equipped with solar-powered cells that serve as its primary fuel source, while an auxiliary battery provides additional propulsion or decreased speed as required.

The drone will carry a versatile payload of high-resolution zoom cameras with thermal imagery and foliage-penetrating lidar sensors with a maximum capacity of 10 kg. This cutting-edge technology will capture, process, and transmit photos and videos in real-time, ensuring that the headquarters and base have access to vital information before planning strategic operations and terms, the start-up said.

It has an endurance of 12 hours and can fly at an altitude of 3000 ft.

The drone is all set to support various Indian and global giants namely the Indian Army, Navy, Airforce, BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, DRDO, MOD, and MHA, the company said in a release.

Recently, Garuda Aerospace had raised USD 22 Million, the "largest ever" Series A funding in the drone sector.

"The funds will therefore help in the development of a 1:1 prototype of SURAJ which will be ready to fly by August 2023", it said.

"Garuda Aerospace's SURAJ drone, will help in providing military and security support with edge-cutting solutions like real-time monitoring. Garuda Aerospace is also being guided by NAL, DRDO and several other scientists on the development of the SURAJ drone," Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, Agnishwar Jayaprakash, said.

"We are confident that the SURAJ drone will play a vital role in safeguarding the security of our nation and the people. SURAJ will have ISR capability and will be equipped with AI, ML and Bionic Chip for advanced real-time processing," he added.