Israeli manufacturer BlueBird has updated its MicroB unmanned air vehicle to satisfy the requirements of an Indian army competition.

BlueBird chief executive Ronen Nadir reveals that the new version will not use the flying wing shape of the original MicroB. “We came to the conclusion that this shape limits the aerodynamic capabilities of this small UAV,” he says.

The company has not released images of its new version, but Nadir says it will have a 2h flight endurance and an effective data link range of 8.1nm (15km).

India’s defence ministry has so far issued three requests for information linked to the army competition, and a formal request for proposals is expected to emerge in June. The service’s initial operational requirement is for 200 small UAV systems, each to include three air vehicles.

BlueBird has already delivered MicroB systems to a number of customers around the world. Nadir identifies users as including special forces units and first responders, plus those involved in protecting infrastructure.

Carrying an electro-optical or infrared sensor, the lightweight type can be deployed from a hand-held launcher within seconds, even in a crowded urban environment or through a window.