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Interview: Ankit Mehta, CEO and co-founder of ideaForge

Ankit Mehta, co-founder and CEO of ideaForge. (ideaForge)

The Indian Army's selection of ideaForge's Switch UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to enhance its surveillance capabilities has given the company a lot of international visibility, Ankit Mehta, co-founder and CEO of ideaForge, told Janes.

Mehta said the Indian Army not only has been inducting systems, which are of a larger tactical medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)/high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) category but also has been looking to extensively utilise mini-UAVs.

This trend coupled with Switch's qualification in the Indian Army's rigorous traditional evaluation process is expected to result in a lot of doors opening for ideaForge in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, Mehta said.

Although it is “early days of exploration” for ideaForge, the company is “progressively closing opportunities in some countries”, he said. At present, the regions that ideaForge has been pursuing include the Middle East, North Africa, and North America, he added.

ideaForge's core interest “at this point in time” is the development of manportable UAVs for “security and surveillance applications”, Mehta noted.

He said the company has been engaged in regularly upgrading these systems to enhance their performance and reliability. For example, ideaForge has been able to cut down the package size of its Netra V4 UAV for field operations by 50% or more. The UAV has also been tested to operate at an altitude of above 6,000 m.

Another priority for ideaForge is to improve the “autonomy” of the systems so that “the need for training a user as well as the need for user involvement in terms of generating an outcome from the system[s]” can be reduced, Mehta said.

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