Government Approves HAL’s HAPS Program – Indian Defence News

In a significant development for India’s defense sector, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received government approval to advance its Indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program. This move underscores HAL’s commitment to meeting the nation’s defense needs and strengthening its position in the public sector.

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According to media reports, the Defense Secretary, Ajay Kumar, has confirmed the government’s authorization for HAL to develop the ‘Combat Air Teaming System,’ of which HAPS is a critical component. So, what exactly is HAPS?

What is HAPS?

HAPS stands for “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite,” and it represents a cutting-edge technology initiative by HAL. During Aero India 2021, HAL announced its collaboration with the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Newspace Research and Technologies to develop an Indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite. A formal proposal was subsequently submitted to the government.

As per the proposal, HAL will first create a scaled prototype, which is expected to be completed within 3-4 years with an initial investment of approximately 50 crores. Notably, HAL has already initiated testing of lightweight electric motors for this prototype. These motors will be powered by high-density rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries, offering exceptional operational capabilities.

One of the standout features of HAPS is its ability to remain airborne for 2-3 months after a single takeoff, without the need for landing. This remarkable endurance is achieved through a combination of solar panels and battery technology, harnessing solar energy during the day to charge the batteries for nighttime operation.

Key features

Key features of the Indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program:

  • Estimated project cost: Approximately 700 crores.
  • Expected weight: Over 500 kilograms.
  • Operational altitude: 70,000 feet.
  • Endurance: Approximately 2-3 months at 70,000 feet.

What payloads can be deployed on HAPS?

HAL’s Indigenous High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) could carry various payloads, including:

  • Electro-Optical (EO)
  • Infrared (IR)
  • Hyperspectral sensors
  • RF Radar: Passive Radio Frequency Radar
  • SA Radar: Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • Early Warning System
  • Lidar
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Benefits of operating HAPS at 70,000 feet:

  • Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) capabilities can be provided.
  • Enhanced resilience to changing weather conditions.
  • Avoidance of traditional airspace routes, reducing the risk of collision with commercial aircraft.
  • Ability to fulfill mission requirements for the military.
  • Capture high-resolution images and videos for military and government use.
  • Gather classified information effectively.

The approval of HAL’s HAPS program signifies a significant step forward in India’s defense technology capabilities, with the potential to revolutionize surveillance, reconnaissance, and strategic military operations. HAL’s relentless pursuit of innovation continues to play a crucial role in safeguarding the nation’s security and sovereignty.

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