The country's first Common Testing Centre for Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) would be established in Tamil Nadu at an outlay of Rs 45 crore, the state government said on Wednesday. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) is the nodal agency for the implementation of the TN Defence Industrial Corridor, and one of the strategies of the corridor is to provide an ecosystem for the aerospace and defence industry.

The non-availability of a Common Testing Centre is an 'entry barrier' for organisations engaged in the aerospace and defence industry, and TIDCO has planned to set up such test centres under the Centre's Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme in Tamil Nadu. For setting up such a Common Testing Centre, TIDCO has floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for identifying industrial partners.

"A consortium of companies consisting of KELTRON, Sense Image Technologies, Standards Testing, and Compliance, and Avishka Retailers had been chosen based on the response to the transparent bid process to partner with TIDCO for establishing the facility at an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore," an official release said.

The proposed facility would come up at the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) Industrial Park, Vallam Vadagal, near Sriperumbudur. Minister for Industries TRB Rajaa said, "Setting up India's first Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drone) Common Testing Centre here in Tamil Nadu showcases Chief Minister M K Stalin's commitment towards building a thriving defence and aerospace manufacturing ecosystem."

The test centre would enable the state to be a significant contributor to the self-reliance of the country in the aerospace and defence sector, it said. "We are attracting investors in this sector by addressing the needs of the industry in an innovative manner. This testing centre will enable Tamil Nadu to become a preferred destination for aerospace and defence companies to set up their Indian operations," he added.