Mehar Baba Prize for building a swarm of 50 drones

Issue: 11 / 2018

The IAF has announced the Mehar Baba Prize – India’s very first competition in the defence sector which intends to select and shepherd participants from conceptualisation to production. The competition’s prize is named in the honour of Late Air Commodore Mehar Singh, DSO MVC, affectionately called Mehar Baba. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer in 1936 at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, UK, he was posted to the sole squadron in the Royal Indian Air Force – No. 1 Squadron, then based in the North West Frontier. Post independence, Mehar Baba was the first to land in Srinagar, was the first to land in Poonch in Kashmir, and later the first to land in Leh, Ladakh and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) – the then highest altitude airstrip in the world. The competition urges individuals, start-ups and other “for profit” entities to compete to build a swarm of 50 drones to lead Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief operations. The winners (up to three) will get up to 10 lakh in prize followed by development fund of up to 10 crore followed by a co-production opportunity with a Base Repair Depot towards a 100 crore order for induction of their developed drone swarms into the IAF.