You already saw in part 1 of how to choose the right drone for your enterprise or defence/homeland security needs. You saw the top 3 considerations you must look at to know your drone-solution fit. In this article, we would go deeper in the types and categorizations of drones to know which drone is right for you.
Previously, you saw how the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) categorizes drones in terms of Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW). We now look at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) categorization chart.
The Class 3 Drones fall in the heavy drone category. These are mainly:
- MALE – Medium Altitude Long Endurance
- HALE – High Altitude Long Endurance
These drones are essential for multi-territorial and long-range surveillance way beyond line of sight (BLOS). The MALE drones fly at a height of up to 45,000 – 50,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL). HALE drones get to heights of up to 65,000 feet MSL. Combat-ready drones also fly at heights similar to HALE. These drones can fly for 24 hours+.
These drones, as you might have guessed, are for high-stakes Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR). To be specific, the high-stakes scenarios are part of the overarching defence strategies of countries. The investments for such drones run into billions of dollars.
Class 2 drones fit into the space between Class 3 and Class 1. They have specific use cases and requirements which perhaps fill-in some ISR gaps. They have a range of around 200 kilometres and fly at a height up to 18,000 feet.
Class 1 drones: Micro, Mini, Small drones
UAVs have been an important strategic tool for defence and special operations for decades. However, the growth and innovation within the technology of Class 1 drones have added multiple avenues and singularly powered the entire industry.
Micro, mini, and small drones fly at a max operating altitude range from 50 ft. to 5000 ft.
Looking at the examples and scenarios covered by Class 1 and Class 2 drones, there’s a high chance that you might not relate to them. Most of the realistic surveillance and surveying/mapping use cases are localized and time-sensitive.
You want to gain situational awareness around your operations and your assets (maintenance) in real-time. Perhaps you want to augment and elevate your surveying and mapping results. There’s a reason why ideaForge drones, in particular, are known for their survey-grade results. More on that here.
|Categories||Drones||Range||Flight time||Take-off weight||Specialty|
|Micro||NINJA UAV||<= 2 km||<= 25 min||< 2kg||NPNT-compliant|
|Mini||SWITCH UAV||<= 15 km||> 120 min||< 6.5 kg||Fixed-wing VTOL|
|Small||Q Series UAV||<= 4 km||<= 40 min||< 3.5 kg||Enterprise-ready|
|NETRA V Series UAV||<= 5 km||<= 60 min||< 6 kg||Workhorse|
|NETRA Pro UAV||> 4 km||> 30 min||< 6 kg||Dual payload|
You can get a detailed feel of these drones here.
Micro, Mini, Small Drone Enterprise and Defence Applications
Beyond the classification, there are the actual applications. You would wonder, yet, which drone is right for you. Let’s take the ‘specialty’ mentioned in the above table to get an idea of what’s good for you. However, before that, we will rehash the multiple industrial and defence applications of these Class 1 drones.
You wouldn’t want a HALE or MALE drone for your surveying and mapping your power plant. First, it would end up running up your costs maybe 50-100x. Secondly, you wouldn’t get the right precision. The Medium to high altitude drones are for overall strategies and target identification.
On the ground, enterprises and defence authorities require more immediate and localized surveillance. You want something that you can simply deploy out of a bag, anywhere, anytime. Therein lies the actual value of Class 1 drones.
ideaForge drones are close-range and totally enterprise-ready. They are built to military specs but perfected by hard-earned industrial experience. ideaForge drones give you the actual real-time situational awareness of your site or your target location. They offer the luxury of minimized bottlenecks, resource multiplication, timeliness and cost-effectiveness.
These drones can help finish your surveying and mapping in 1/6th the original time (manual surveying) at 1/4th to 1/5th the cost. Furthermore, it gives better results including 3D Elevation and Contour mapping. It even enables error-free and fast information post-processing for action-ready results.
|NINJA UAV||NPNT-compliant||These Ninja micro UAVs are lightweight scouts that are No-Permission No-Take off or NPNT-compliant. This means that you can quickly conduct event or plant surveillance to get a live and first-hand report.|
|Q Series UAV||Enterprise-ready||This drone is your go-to-drone for immediate surveillance, fitting into any and all industrial/defence applications effortlessly.|
|NETRA V Series UAV||Workhorse||This drone is your best friend when it comes to its versatility. It has immense applications with a class-dominating operational range and flight time.|
|NETRA Pro UAV||Dual payload||This truly pioneering tech can simultaneously carry two payloads in a single flight. This means that enterprises can conduct visual and thermal inspections on the same flight. It’s especially effective for day and night surveillance or as megaphone drones.|
|SWITCH UAV||Fixed-wing VTOL||This is a pioneering Vertical Take-Off and Landing Fixed Wing ingenious drone. It has immense ISR applications with class-dominating endurance and stable flight-time. It’s a beast for surveillance or disaster relief.|
Outlook: How to choose the right drone
You can categorize drones based on multiple criteria. It can be range based, endurance based, MTOW based, etc. Whichever way you go, you must essentially look at these 3 things.
- Drone-solution fit
- Endurance (how it would function within your use-case)
- Applications and KPIs
Beyond this, it must satisfy your cost-benefit equation. ideaForge drones are known to bring immense elevation within such cost-benefit equations. However, in general, you want the drone that is right for you. We know that making your enterprise future-ready with ideaForge drones is a transformative experience. Eventually, it would set you up as a leader among followers. We are here to guide you to your ideal drone-fit.