The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) is set to launch India's first High Altitude Platform (HAP) in May. The CSIR-associated institution will first try with the prototype device which will fly up to a range of around 3 km. The object is seen as a more evolved version of a drone that can fly up to the range of 18-20 km from the ground.

High Altitude Platform has a lot of applications, especially in communication like wireless access and emergency communication. The device can also help security agencies to keep a tight vigil at borders and prevent infiltrations and smuggling. The local administration can also use the device to check pollution and take a stock of development activities in the area.

The scientific agency informed that the full-fledged version of the HAP will be ready in around two-three years.

As the air at the higher altitude is thin, the HAP is a lightweight device that will be powered by solar energy. The device also stores energy to work during the night and carries an ultra-high-energy dense battery to serve the storage purpose. The battery comprises high-end lithium-ion batteries with silicon nanowire electrodes.

The device is sometimes also called Low Altitude Pseudo satellite and the experts have pointed out that, a full-fledged HAP can provide various services that satellites provide at a much cheaper budget.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has also showcased an interest in building a High Altitude Platform (HAP). The organization is also collaborating with startups like NewSpace Research and Technologies and has allocated ₹42 crore to develop a prototype of HAP.

HAPs are seen as a promising technology for providing broadband internet access to remote areas, supporting disaster response efforts, and monitoring the environment. However, there are also concerns about the safety and security of these platforms, as well as their potential impact on the aviation industry and the environment.