Retired ISRO official promoted Sisir Radar to make SAR for drones, satellites

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Space sector startup Sisir Radar Private Ltd will make synthetic aperture radars (SAR) that can be fixed on drones for imaging smaller land areas, said a senior space scientist and a top company official.

“SARs need not always be satellite based. It can also be drone based to get clearer and accurate images of smaller land areas, say to measure farms, crops and other aspects,” Tapan Misra, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Sisir Radar Private Ltd, told IANS.

Normally SARs are fitted to satellites or airplanes.

Misra was earlier a Director at the Space Applications Centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

He said drone-fitted SAR images will be useful in assessing crop damage and others and can be used by state governments.

The drone-based SAR needs high mathematical calculations and Misra said he has the necessary algorithms.

The Union government with its policy pronouncements is encouraging domestic manufacturing of drones.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the Ministry of Commerce, issued a notification banning import of drones, subject to some exceptions.

However, the government continues imports of components for making drones.

After liberalising the rules relating to drones in 2021, the government has given a big boost to the drone industry with the announcement of Kisan Drones in the Union Budget 2022-23.

The government has also announced a productivity linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the drone manufacturing industry.

An incentive of Rs 120 crore has been provided for Indian manufacturers of drone and drone components on the basis of their value addition in India.

The PLI is calculated as the annual sales revenue from drones and drone components (net of GST) minus the purchase cost (net of GST) of drone and drone components.

The incentive is spread over three financial years commencing 2021-22.

According to Misra, Sisir Radar will also make a constellation of 32 SAR satellites based on new technology so that the cost of good satellite images come down drastically from $60 per sq km.

He said the company named in memory of late Indian physicist Sisir K Mitra plans to make S-band SAR with 0.5 metre resolution at its manufacturing facility to be set up in Kolkata. The company has raised initial funds from angel investors.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

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