Solar Powered MARAAL UAV Developed by IIT Kanpur

What are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)  - Indian Defence News

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which include additionally a ground-based controller and a system of communications with the UAV.

What is MARAAL?

UAV’s have recently attracted significant amount of attraction due to their wide spread application. 

Be it reconnaissance, surveillance, mapping or rescue missions, UAV’s are indeed proving to be a versatile and cost-effective solution. This has resulted in a lot of research effort being put into making UAVs more and more robust and increasing their efficiencies in terms of range, power consumption, and endurance etc.

The MARAAL is a series of solar powered UAVs that were developed in India by aerospace department of IIT Kanpur. These are multipurpose UAVs, primarily focused on requirements mentioned above.


MARAAL-1 is the first Indian solar powered UAV. It is a low-altitude long endurance solar-electric powered UAV which increases the endurance with the additional usage of solar cells in combination with batteries to power the UAV.

MARAAL-1 UAV SOLAR POWERED - Indian Defence News

This project was sponsored by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for the feasibility study of the solar powered aircraft in Indian atmospheric conditions. The test results of this UAV encouraged the researchers and they developed another solar powered UAV MARAAL-2 having improved capabilities.

It has completed several successful test flights starting with its maiden flight on 1st Feb 2016 to help researchers gather useful real-time flight performance data.

Specifications of MARAAL-1 UAV

SN Property Quantity
1 Weight 16 Kg
2 Power Required to Cruise 210 Watt
3 Solar Power Extraction 170 Watt (Avg, 1st March 2016)
4 Service Ceiling 500m AGL
5 Endurance 11 Hrs
6 Gliding Ratio(L/D) 18
7 Payload 5 Kg


MARAAL-2 is a medium altitude, long range (up to 200 kms), fully autonomous and mission programmable, solar powered UAV. It offers ultra-long endurance and quiet operation. This has larger area for solar power extraction than MARAAL-1 and the trim drag is minimized with improved design.
MARAAL-2 Solar Powered UAV - Indian Defence News
The solar power extracted during the cruise in good sunny condition was recorded much more than the power required for cruise (maximum range conditions). The ground control station console is functionally interchangeable and allows highly interactive mission planning and re-tasking.

Salient features of MARRAL-2 UAV’s:

  • Fully solar powered
  • Optimised for extraction of maximum solar power
  • No trim control deflections
  • Modular
  • Fully autonomous operations with pre-set patterns
  • In-flight destination update capability
  • Ruggedized and expandable Ground Control Station
  • Low IR and Radar signature
  • Optimized aerodynamics makes this power efficient
  • Intellegent power management system
  • Less complex assembly allows very low MTTR
  • Can perform uninterruptedly without any service
  • Night landing

Specifications of MARAAL-2 UAV

SN Name Quantity
1 Weight 12 Kg
2 Power Required to Cruise 160 Watt
3 Solar Power Extraction 245 Watt (Avg, 5th March 2017)
4 Service Ceiling 1000m AGL
5 Endurance 18 Hrs
6 Gliding Ratio(L/D) 20
7 Payload 7 Kg